I recently read of a seven-year-old boy who had taken his own life.
“Peering through the keyhole of a locked door in her family’s home near Detroit’s New Center, a 14-year-old girl saw the unthinkable: her seven-year-old brother hanging from a bunk bed with a belt around his neck, a police report says,” The Detroit Free Press reported.
“The girl alerted her mother and called 911. The mother and a neighbor forced their way into the room, took the boy down, and called 911, too.
“The seven-year-old … had been depressed about being bullied by other kids at school and in his neighborhood, and about his parents’ recent separation, the boy’s mother told police, according to the report.”
For me, the pain is deep. For a child so young to feel so lost is tragic, and for this loss to be secondary to bullying cuts me to the core. I know this situation well.
When I was 10, I was the victim of bullying at my primary school. Every day I was beaten by the same vile male. Every day I did what I could to avoid school. Pain as strong as this can be hard for a child to comprehend.
I was taught a very simple idea as a volunteer at the charity Camp Quality. It’s a simple process that can have amazing results. It’s called “The Worst and The Best”.
The Worst and The Best works this way — when you are with a friend, or even with a small group of friends, you each take a turn to share your best and worst moment of the day.
It’s important that there is no judgement and no interruption and you are focused on the person who is sharing. It was their day, let them tell it how it was for them.
The person sharing starts by explaining the worst part of their day and then shares the best part of their day. This way each person gets to finish on the reminder of the wonderful highlight of their day.
An example might be, as it was for me yesterday:
“Today the worst for me was that I was feeling tired and this made me a bit snappy. I hate it when I am snappy. I don’t like the feeling and I hate being negative to people around me that I care about.
“The best part of my day was that I had an amazing night with my partner, watching TV and enjoying being daggy old me in my shorts and T-shirt, laughing along to Tosh.0.”
Some people feel a bit weird when they first do this. When done on a regular basis, the process can really help create an open relationship, allowing space for sharing concerns, love, care and trust.
This process can be for everyone — kids, adults, close mates. Give it a try today. It’s these conversations that can not only be life-changing but, more importantly, life-saving.
If you have kids, today might be a great day to have this first conversation. You may be surprised what you learn. I hope this might create a generation of kids that learns to never fear sharing openly with people they feel safe with.
INFO: Read more at www.thehealthybear.com
By DR GEORGE FORGAN-SMITH