It is important to maintain a level of respect and courtesy toward one another in all that we do and to always consider whether our actions, intentional or not, might be hurtful to another. I also use these stories to show my children that the good in people motivates them to be agents of change. If you have not visited the It Gets Better (Trevor) project website, I encourage you to do so and I thank my dear friend Lesley for bringing it to my attention. Take a look at the amazing way people are speaking up and speaking out to let young people who feel isolated, alone or bullied because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans-gender know that it gets better. http://www.itgetsbetterproject.com/page/share.
How much do I love the fact that the President of the United States posted a compelling video on this site?!
As parents, our task is two-fold. It is our responsibility to teach our children what bullying means and how it is never acceptable. We need to teach our children that they are part of a world that is greater and vaster than the reality they may know and that people in that world, even people right next door, are different in so many ways. We need to teach our children that difference is not to be feared or mocked or persecuted but, rather, embraced. It is also our responsibility to do the best we can to reinforce the message that our kids are loved, that they are not alone and that, when it is difficult and when it hurts and when they feel all alone in the world, it gets better.
The platform of our current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Katherine Paterson, is Read for Your Life. Katherine says:
Read for your life. Read for your life as a member of a family, as a part of a community, as a citizen of this country and a citizen of the world.
- Say Hello by Jack Foreman, illustrated by Michael Foreman (a picture book for ages 3-6 years)
- Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Dolores Starbuckle by Jennifer Richard Jacobson, illustrated by Abby Carter (Early Reader, Ages 508 years)
- A Certain Strain of Peculiar by Gigi Amateau (Middle Grade, Ages 12 and up)
- Beat the Band by Don Calame(Teen/Young Adult, Ages 14 and up)