we belong to each other

Thanks to The Bully Project for sponsoring my writing. Visit their website to join the movement and learn more.  

It's an impression more than a memory.  Our gym class class met outside that day, probably to run the dreaded mile.  Navy tees and grey shorts were the uniform, but matching jersey can't erase social distinctions. Those are carved in stone.

Or flesh.

One boy was slower, his smile kinder than most.  The others taunted, and he laughed, believing himself to be part of their fun instead of its cruel target.

I barely remember.  Not his name or any of their faces.  There was a dare, and he obeyed, wanting to play, to belong.  Not understanding that some kids cannot be trusted.

Innocence trusts, but age and experience prove many unreliable.

They made him expose himself.  Their laughter was ugly, exposing their callous, careless hearts.

Our silence exposed our own, we who saw and did nothing.


Inaction is itself a choice, a vote for the status quo.  Human kindness requires more than merely not joining the cruelty.  Bystanders' hands are stained, too.

Aren't we all our brothers' keepers?

I've written about our responsibility in the bullying of LGBTQ kids, but there are many ways to be different.  Race, gender, religion, size, speech, intellect, appearance, ability, economic status, and anything else that distinguishes people turns some into targets.  Adults may like to talk to kids about being special and becoming leaders, but playgrounds (and classrooms) reward conformity richly.  This world can be exceedingly punishing to any who fall out of step from the herd.

I want so much more for my children than for them to blend in, fearful of rocking the boat, expressing passion or personality, standing up to injustice, or holding an unpopular opinion.  That's no way to live, and certainly no way to be faithful to a God who calls us to be not conformed.

I want my kids--and all kids--to feel safe in this world.  To believe that adults have their backs.

We do, don't we?  Not just our kids but all kids?

We belong to one another.   Our burdens weren't meant to be born alone.

Shared with the Imperfect Prose community.

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls CollectiveFind showings in your area for The Bully Project and buy tickets here.

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