I stumbled upon a great website. It is Girl Talk. It is a mentoring program where high school girls mentor middle school girls. I think this is just the greatest program. It is meant to express to young girls that they are not alone and the high school girls guide them through issues that make being a young girl difficult.
I have three teenagers and although no one is free from drama in school years, I, or I guess I should say they, have been fortunate not to be on either end of any kind of bullying. You can't get through school without a few problems, but my kids haven't had to deal with the torture and abuse some kids have had to.
Kids don't realize that what they see as fun and just being a kid through mistreating classmates has a lasting effect. I guess they don't have the experience and maturity to look ahead and understand the damage they do to another human being by being mean.
I love this program because of bullying issues, but it is great for younger girls to have someone to look up to that has recently dealt with the same things they are going through. In most homes, both parents work and so many times kids have a hard time communicating with their parents what they are going through. This program is a great way to reach out and keep young girls going in a positive direction. This website doesn't need my advertisement. They have reached so many young girls, I am just really impressed with what they are doing and want to share with others who may see a need in their school, church, community for this kind of program.
We are in an advanced technological world. Fortunately and unfortunately, we can share our thoughts with many, many people in just a few seconds. Through social media, we can speak out and say what we want but I don't think it is always a good thing. There are positive occasions when you need a prayer chain or you want to share good news, keep up with family and friends far away, but too many times the positive can quickly turn negative. You don't have to be face to face or on the phone anymore to have a debate about current events and topics. Because of social media and technology, I think there are a lot of miscommunications and it can be easy to misinterpret what someone has said.
I am not always the most strict parent, but I have one rule in my house that my kids know I take very seriously. I am not perfect by any means at all. I have made my share of mistakes. I am the oldest of me, my sister, and brother and I was the only one who went away to college. I had never been "away" before, I was only 45 minutes from home, but I had no supervision. Well, after two years of enjoying my freedom at their expense, my parents came to the University of Georgia, packed my rear up, and took me home to commute to the school I started at to finally graduate. I will say I had a hell of a good time, but I acted like a fool. I have made many mistakes in my 42 years, but one thing I can honestly say about myself is I have never been mean to anyone for no reason. That is my one rule that I have always had for myself, followed, and passed onto my children. My children are not perfect, but they have followed my rule because they don't understand how and why someone would just mistreat someone else for no reason. Don't get me wrong, if someone mistreats me or my family for no reason then I will speak up and defend myself. I have always told my kids to do the same. I believe in taking up for yourself wholeheartedly.
I think if everyone followed this one rule life would be so much easier and pleasant!
The only thing I really want to say about the Paula Deen issue is it is just such a sad situation. I grew up in a different time than she did. I was born and raised in Georgia, but I am 42 years old. She is known for her southern roots and that is what has made her brand and why people love her. Of course, I don't know her personally, but before this came about I would never have thought of her as a mean person and I still don't think she is mean. I remember reading Huckleberry Finn my junior year of high school and before we started my teacher explained to us that the "n" word was in the book and why. She explained that it was a different time and that we would not be using the word although it was in the book. I always remembered her explanation and always felt that she very appropriately and eloquently confronted the issue. She was very respectful and considerate of the students in class that would understandably be offended by reading this book with such a word. The book is still a very controversial subject as explained in this CBS article.
A person would have to be completely insensitive, and frankly stupid, to not understand why some would find this word offensive. It is totally understandable. The only thing I don't understand is with it being so offensive why it should be used at all. By anybody. My kids have asked me several times why the people who are offended and hurt by it use it. I don't have an answer for them. I don't think it is fair to rip this woman and her family business apart if we aren't going to be fair all the way around. Kids are watching this issue whether we realize it or not. With social media, internet, and cell phones with access to internet, kids don't miss a thing. We are sending them a message and we need to be careful what we teach them.
With social media, everyone is writing, tweeting, and expressing their personal opinion on the Paula Deen issue. I am sure it has started many arguments between friends and people who care about and respect one another. What is most confusing to me about this issue is that tolerance has been something our society has strived for for a long time. I am worried that while our young generation are watching, we are reacting to and responding to this issue with intolerance and hate. Rather than using this as an open minded chance to educate and discuss, we are teaching non forgiveness and judgment. Our world is so different today than it was 50 or more years ago. I don't think there has ever been such a generational gap in history as today. We discuss differences in generation and way of life all the time because it has changed so much so fast.
As Christians, we have to show forgiveness. I know there are many who are understandably offended and hurt and that can't and shouldn't be ignored, but from what I have seen and heard I am just worried that we are showing our youth to treat intolerance with intolerance and responding to "hate" with "hate."