I am not very eloquent this morning. (Insert comment similar to "when are you?" here). My dudes have been sick and I am exhausted, so the brain is firing on hamster wheel power not horse power (much like the Geo Metro of my past). But, something is happening in our universe right now and it is worth talking about, even if it is in fragments, parentheticals and a wee bit of gibberish. That situation is the rise of teen/young adult gay suicide that seems to have statistics climbing on a daily basis.
Your kid is one of these kids. I don't know which side they are on, but I know from having an 11 year old, that children fall into one of two categories. They are either the bullies or they are the bullied. It may not be because they are gay... but there is something. And, until we attempt to thwart this army of mean girls and boys that we are sending into our schools every day, no one is safe. And people are dying. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Tim Gunn and Dave Navarro are coming out to tell gay kids that they are not alone, and that is fantastic. But, the message can't come from the talking heads on TV. The message needs to come from home, that's our ground zero. It's time for us parents to put down the Blackberries and step away from the clutter of our lives and talk to our kids. It may just keep them alive.
There is a book that Jack likes that is called I Love You Through and Through. It talks about loving top sides, bottom sides, insides and outsides. The end is "I love you through and through... yesterday, today and tomorrow, too." I don't know if anyone else has read it, but there is no asterisk saying "unless you turn out to be gay." The message of the book is fantastic, because it is all about unconditional love that a parent feels for their kids. "I love you running and walking, silent and talking." There's no place where it says, "I love you if you marry a woman and live a traditional heterosexual life." Maybe we should distribute this book to new parents, because it explains what parental love is supposed to be... and clearly, some people are missing the boat on it. Four teens have taken their lives in the last month because they were bullied about their sexuality. I don't know what the home lives were like for these kids, but I have a feeling that if the parents were supportive, the bullying could have stopped or at least counteracted enough to save the child's life.
It is not Ellen's, Tim's or Dave's job to save our children. It is ours. And maybe it is time to send the message that gay or straight, they are still our kids. Let's go ahead and spread tolerance and acceptance to our kids, instead of judgement or hate. Let's turn the army of evil that we've raised so far into kids who are actually kind to others. It can't be corrected on tv or through celebrities. It starts here, and it starts with the message that we love you. I have two boys and I dream of a day when they will be sports stars, cure cancer and become President of the United States, but if in the process it turns out that they are gay... then I will love them. I will. Unconditional love is just that, unconditional.
I have never been gay and I don't yet have any experience with a gay child. But, I can only assume that parents would rather have a gay child than a dead one. If your son or daughter is struggling with their sexuality, then let them know that whatever they determine, you will love them. And if your child is one of the bullies, let them know that they are killing someone. With every "fag" and "homo," they are taking away a bit of someone's life. Four lives have been taken away this month alone. None of those kids had the intention of pushing someone to suicide, but it isn't intention that kills someone. It's the words. It's the actions. Don't let your child live with that guilt. Don't let them be a murderer. Some things are just wrong... so why all the sudden it is so widespread? We let our kids become this... now it is time to fix our mistakes. Mean Girls, Bad Girls, and bullying Jersey Shore boys are not funny. It's not kids being kids. It's wrong. Unconditionally wrong.
So, it is time for us to stop being buddies and start raising children that we can be proud of. Step up and maybe if we stop the bullying, the life that you save may be your child's. It's time for us to make a stand. We love our kids. ALL of them. And if no one else will say it, then I will. No matter whose child you are, no matter what... I love you through and through... yesterday, today and tomorrow, too.