This week in Midland, Texas we had two suicides of young teen age girls. It is tragedy beyond words. One was sixteen and the other was 14 I think. So many reasons not to do this:
- Too young,
- Too much in front of them,
- Too much to live for,
- Too much they don’t know to do this,
- Too much to experience and
- Too much pain to live.
What is happening in our culture where a young girl, two, beautiful and healthy think that the only way to end their current pain is to take thier life? How does this thinking enter the mind of a young girl or boy? What is so bad that the only way out is death?
I am not a counselor by trade, but I have worked with youth for over twenty years as a pastor, youth probation officer and a teacher. I can tell you this, kids need to feel connected an valued. If kids don’t have a place to belong and be themselves then things will seem hopeless to some. Is this what happened to our two young girls here in Midland? I don’t know and we may never know.
I do know that our teens are living out their lives with little privacy. Imagine having all of your faults as a junior or senior high kid posted daily on Facebook. I would have hated that as a teenager. I made so many stupid mistakes that I would have been mortified if anyone, other than my closest friends knew, that was bad enough. Kids are unable to grow up making mistakes and being, well, geeky, without being ridiculed on Facebook an Twiiter and other sites. Would you have liked that as a teen?
Our school district is trying to make people more aware of the isssues surrounding teen suicide, but how much can our schools really do? This is an issue of worth and a long term view of life. We place a great deal of immediacy on our students today. Pass this test or else? Make this team or else? Make first chair or else? Heck, if you are not a good athlete by age seven you are deemed a failure. Really?
I am not saying there is an easy fix to teen suicide, but I do believe if we told our kids they are going to have heartache and failure, but that does not make them a failure. One mistake does not a life make.
This one hits close to home as one of the students was mine in 8th grade. I remember her very well. She was a typical junior high student in many ways. Not too interested in much of what I was teaching, but she seemed well adjusted, certainly not suicidal. Which should tell us we can’t know without getting to really know our kids.
We have to do better as a society in telling kids life is a marathon, not a sprint. What happens in junior high and senior high is not the end, heck it doesn’t even seem very real to me anymore. Does any part of life look like your school days? I wonder if we have outgrown the school model? Is there a better way to prepare our kids for tomorrow? I I think of my own kids: do they have these feelings? Are they feeling alone? Do they feel the way kids with “problems” do? I am going to make it my mission to find out and make sure my kids know they have somewhere to go and someone who will listen.
What do you think? Until next time, peace.