A Minute to Myself (63)
Looking at Marriage in a Glass Half-full/Half-empty Way

Keeping Our Kids Safe

A few days ago I received an email from a former student that she is dropping playing ball because she doesn’t want to be yelled at any more by her coaches, or told that she is lazy when she is not feeling well.

Yesterday I spoke with a friend who told me that a boy, who should be starting eighth grade in two weeks, committed suicide a week ago. Over the past year, one boy in the high school where I teach committed suicide; one boy in my daughter’s middle school committed suicide; and the high school-aged son of a friend’s colleague committed suicide. All four of those boys hanged themselves. Over the past year I am aware of two girls who attempted suicide, and two others who were cutting themselves (as if there is a real distinction).

One boy had just broken up with his girlfriend. The other had a girlfriend, and a big—intact—family, and a drug problem. The parents of one of the girl’s were playing tug-of-war on her heart in their post-divorce world. Two of the girls did not fit the thin-girl standard.


I can’t connect one girl’s being fundamentally aggrieved because she was belittled and disrespected by her adult coaches and these suicides and attempted suicides, but they paint a grim picture of our youth and how they view our world. And perhaps, how they feel they are treated by us—the adults in their world.

But then there’s the boy who was partially paralyzed after he dove into the waves on a summer day at the beach with his family. Students in his school and other schools in the area have been holding drives to raise money for his care. I’m just wondering how it is that some kids find and sustain a purpose and others don’t.

With a new school year starting in one week, I’m hoping that I find it in me to shut my mouth unless something kind and helpful can be made to a student. And I am hoping that I don’t write comments on students’ papers that can be perceived as overly harsh. I know none of these devastating events were my fault, but we all need to take responsibility for our words and our actions and realize that kids are sensitive and they don’t have adult-mood filters. And they certainly aren’t proficient in analyzing my sarcasm. Yes, this year I need to be a kinder, gentler teacher. Maybe I am learning something from my students.



That sounds appalling. This certainly worries me as I have 4 children and they are growing everyday. I think it is imperative for parents to be more vigilant about everything that is happening in our children's life. It is also important for us parents to foster a much endearing and positive relationship with our children...

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Soul, thanks for your thoughts. It's so tough. What works with one kid might not work for another. Independence works with some, and some need to still be supervised. The best any of us--parents and teachers--can do is to show them we care and we are concerned, and try to pick up any hints that they might be in pain--before it's too late.


Beautifully stated.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Thank you, April.
I met my students yesterday, and I can tell you, I am absolutely committed to my classroom being a haven for us all.


I hope my girls have a teacher like you this year. Last year, my oldest daughter had a great teacher who told her grade 2 class: "I love you all the same even though you are all very different", and my daughter really felt good and safe in that class. A child grows so much more when he/she feels like any criticism or teaching comes from a place of caring.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Sandia, Thank you so much for your kind thought. I will carry that thought of a trusting parent with me as well this year.

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