I just can’t bear to read it. Another heart-breaking story that didn’t have to happen— a beautiful Texas teenager fatally shoots herself, in front of her own family, after a long-term battle with cyberbullies. Though I can’t possibly understand this tragedy, I want her parents—and others who have lost children to the tyranny of social media—to know that I truly care. And I want to do something to help. So in memory of these precious lives . . .
In this season of school application deadlines, I am frequently reminded of our society’s bittersweet love affair with achievement. It pushes us forward, drives us to set goals and meet them, and keeps us going. Achievement is attractive, and it feels good.
When my daughter was 6 years old, my mother offered to buy her a horse.
“Absolutely not.” I said.
“But she loves horses,” my mom insisted. “They’re her passion.”
“Forget it.” I huffed. And sadly, I did everything in my power to discourage my daughter from even thinking about life as an equestrian. I was scared of horses, and I didn’t like riding them. They weren’t my cup of tea.
Four years ago, I became the person that no one wants to be. I was the “divorced” friend—the humiliated, suddenly-single mother of three confused children, ages 10 and under.
I’ll spare you the gut-wrenching details of my time in this emotional blender, because what you really need to know are ways that you can help someone in a similar situation—and ways to avoid causing even more pain.
What we need now in the world of parenting is more than love. We need encouragement. Something to keep us going every day in the midst of all the pain and suffering and challenges that living with our children in today’s society can bring.
A few months ago, on a mundane weekday morning in my 40s, my husband sent me a text.
“What’s on your agenda today?” he asked.
I stared at my phone and mustered the energy to type a response.
“Laundry,” I said.