As the weeks turned into months of me telling my daughter "he's just doing it because he likes you" and "just ignore him", came the day when she came home from school sobbing, a non-stop sobbing. He had broken her. His words "you're ugly," "you're fat," "you're stupid" had broken her. Just words... not just words, words that hurt when said over and over again. I did the thing that most of us parents do, I said "they are just words don't let them worry you" (sticks and stones). The thing is, they may just be words, but I know what words I would rather hear - you're beautiful and you're kind. If she were an adult it would have been totally different and that is what we need to remind ourselves. What kind of adults are we creating when we are teaching our kids that it's okay. That day will never leave my mind and I'm so thankful that we have a close relationship and that she was able to come to me that day. She had started to hate herself. My beautiful confident girl was now somewhere lost inside. As we talked into the night and more over that weekend, I asked her what she thought about starting a campaign on social media using the popular hashtags #itsnotcooltobecruel and #itscooltobekind. With so many tweens on social media what better way to spread the word and teach kindness about how important it is to speak kind words. Too many young people are taking their lives because of cruel words and bullying. We want them to know they are not alone and there are options out there for them which is why we joined together with Somewhere Between to create this campaign. This campaign has created a light inside my daughter again. It has given her strength to know she is making a difference in spreading an important message; the power of kindness.
Months have passed since that day and I'm happy to have my bubbly girl back. We did have to put some things into place at her school and on the bus, which her school was very supportive of. There was one day at school that she got angry when someone told her she was ugly again. I think that is her trigger because it has hurt her to the core, but the amazing support people have shown with the campaign has given her so much hope and she realises how much kindness there is out there in this world. We have been overwhelmed by messages and the people wanting to create pictures, and other amazing things that we can't wait to show you soon. The excitement I see in her face when I tell her what a difference it is making, warms my heart. I truly tear up at the thought that something that was so painful has been turned into a message that has spread worldwide. We hope that kids out there realise there is help and light at the end of their darkness. I know that there will always be people who are mean or cruel, but if more of us stand together against them and not with them when this is happening, then we can find the power in KIND and stick together in kindness.