Utter Despair – a societal affliction

Yesterday, a sixth-grader jumped from a second-story window at my children’s school. My child was not in the classroom, but he saw the student laying in the grass, unmoving, adults standing around him with concern.

My younger kids know nothing about this, and I’d like to keep it that way. Protect their innocence just a little bit longer. Pretend like there isn’t angst in the world or upset.

I found out by a text message from another parent. Then the district email asserted that “a child tried to hurt himself.” My son filled in the blanks along with other parents.

Not enough information. I’ve written to the principals. You know I’ll protest if things weren’t handled well.

But that is entirely not the point.

A sixth-grader tried to kill himself. An 11-year-old child. Feeling utter despair, he climbed on a desk, told the classroom, “Goodbye,” and flew out the window. All in the blink of an eye. No time to process. No time to … what?

That a child so young could feel such sadness, so alone, so weighted down by the worries of the world as to want to end it all, well, I just can’t imagine how we’ve come to this.

Yes, people have committed suicide throughout the history of the world. But it was always a small segment of the population who got to that precipice and decided it was better to walk off the edge than remain and fight for their lives.

Life shouldn’t be a daily fight. There are birds in the trees and tall trees providing oxygen and a world full of sunrises and sunsets and refreshing raindrops bringing the scent of dew and crystals of sunlight on the soccer field while our children run up and down the very green grass.

There is just so much good all around. People with hearts full of love. And children – so precious – all they need is love.

If a child cannot see this, well, then we as adults are not doing our job. We are not doing the work we were brought here to do.

Life is not about running between errands and checking off a to-do list. It’s not about multitasking and ignoring the chatter of children in the back seat. It’s not about filling up the schedule to fill up our pockets to fill up the space between our ears so we have no time to think or breathe or feel.

Life IS about love. At the core of every life, what keeps us going, the fuel of our days, is love. Plain, simple love.

A warming glance. A hand on a shoulder. A smile. A big smile. Eye to eye communication. Reassurance. An embrace before going off to start your day and an embrace when returning at the end of it.

Those things are what make every day worth living.

If we aren’t providing this to others, we are failing. And if we adults aren’t making sure every child has exactly this, if the truth is obscured by an incomprehensible focus on our own selfish needs or a desire for our children to get into the Ivy League, well, then we have more than failed. I don’t even have words.

A student in the affected classroom, a language arts class, said they were reading something that went like this, “Some people understand. Some people understand too late.”

Unfortunately, this is more true than I want to believe.

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