This weekend, I observed a sweet moment between a group of teenage girls and my 4-year-old. Basically we were waiting for Gianna's class to start and she saw three older teenage girls casually nudging a basketball soccer-style to one another in a circle and was intrigued. Being the social bird that she is, she just walked over and inserted herself into the circle and wanted to play along. Instead of stopping the game or looking awkwardly over at me, the girls simply opened up their circle and gave my little one a chance to play along despite the fact that she was not even close to being as skilled as they were. The pace was all off, the ball rolled out of the circle each time it was Gianna's turn. But these girls never lost patience and in fact set-up chances for her to participate.
I felt such a surge of gratitude to these girls and when it was time to break away, Gianna was just so elated at having had the chance of playing with "the older kids" and was beaming from ear-to-ear.
However, this moment of kindness and goodwill that warmed my heart felt in such stark contrast to how I felt while reading and previewing Bully the Movie. In fact, in the opening of the trailer for Bully the Movie, I freeze at this statement that comes on in white text against a black backdrop,
Over 13 million American kids will be bullied
And think, “what are the odds that my sweet young girls will become one of those 13 million bullied?” And worst yet, what are the odds that they will be one of those who bully one of the 13 million kids? Already, my 7-year-old is coming home with stories on how friends are not playing with a specific boy/girl because they are deemed annoying. Or how a classmate used a mean name on another friend. As a non-American mother to two multi-racial girls, living in a predominantly-Caucasian part of the US, I try to instill pride and teach my girls to celebrate everyone's beauty - externally and internally. And although we have been blessed not to have had a major life-changing event to cause either of them to question this, I live with this caution and hope that they never have to experience such an event.
I think it's so commendable that a group of people have taken this on and brought attention to this struggle and challenge that kids face today. And my heart goes out to the families profiled in the film who have lost their kids or continue to fear the potential loss of their kids due to this crisis. I have not paid as much attention to the public outcry on the intial R-rating on the film but am glad it has been lowered as of a few days ago. I have to believe that the world is filled with people like the three teenage girls this weekend but I still have to put on my "Mama Bear" hat and prepare my girls and my husband and myself for those in the world who are not like them. Do consider taking the time out to see and support this movie with me!
More About Bully the Movie:
Bully is a film directed by Sundance- and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch. It is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary—at its heart are those with the most at stake and whose stories each represent a different facet of this bullying crisis. Following five kids and families over the course of a school year, the film confronts bullying’s most tragic outcomes, including the stories of two families who’ve lost children to suicide and a mother who waits to learn the fate of her 14 –year-old daughter, incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With rare access to the Sioux City Community School District, the film also gives an intimate glimpse into school busses, classrooms, cafeterias and even principles offices, offering insight into the often-cruel world of children, as teachers, administrators and parents struggle to find answers.
Bully will be shown in select theaters beginning Friday, March 30. Website: www.thebullyproject.com