Tag Archives: Education

Bullies, Suicide and “13 Reasons Why”

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to take a peek at “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix. And yes, I am well aware of all the negative commentary surrounding it.

However, one thing I will say, is that I thought the series was well done. The writing, story, acting, and cinematography is superb.

“13 Reasons Why” is about a smart, pretty teenager named Hannah Baker who begins attending a new school, and becomes a target after a guy she liked took a photo of her coming down a slide. He decides to show the revealing photo to his jock buddies, and one of them thought it was a perfectly good idea to text it to everyone in the school.

Credit: Bully | by Jonathon Narvey | Flickr Creative Commons

It was disheartening to watch how these teenagers relentlessly bully her after that photo was sent. She did her best to cope with the cruelty that bombarded her on a daily basis. But things took a turn for the worst, when the same guy who texted the photo, raped her.

After this occurred, as a last resort, she visits with her school counsellor, which unfortunately, made matters worse. It was after this meeting, she decided to take her life. But before she does, she records 13 cassette tapes, leaving messages for everyone she holds responsible, except for one, her friend Clay Jensen.

The critics say “13 Reasons Why” glorifies rape and suicide. But I disagree. I believe the producers intention was to shock people into awareness and create a conversation to propel change.

I understand why some people wouldn’t want their small children watching it. However, I believe it should be viewed by parents and teenagers alike because of its important message.

I understand all too well about triggers, however, there is more violence in “The Walking Dead” than there is in “13 Reasons Why.” So, is it perfectly okay for kids to watch stuff like “The Walking Dead,” but not okay for them to be educated on a real and prevalent issue, such as bullying, rape and suicide?

Statistics say, suicide is the third leading cause of death in America between the ages of 10 to 24. Did you know every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, and every 8 minutes, it’s a child?

The story of “13 Reasons Why” reminds me of a YouTube video I watched several years ago of a girl who was being bullied. She made this video before she ended her life. Her name was Amanda Todd. She was just one of many who kill themselves because they see no other way out of their situation.

Just recently, I came across a story on Facebook of an eight year old boy from Ohio who committed suicide because of the relentless bullying he endured. Why hadn’t the school stepped in and stopped it? Why is bullying allowed or ignored in our public schools? Why aren’t changes being instituted to insure the safety of our children attending school?

Yet, the critics are up in arms about “13 Reasons Why.” I don’t understand. Don’t they see what is going on? Aren’t they aware of the epidemic? Aren’t they paying attention to what is happening to our children in schools across America?

Yes, the content is graphic, but so is the reality. Parents and victims of bullies need to see and understand the damage it causes. Not turn a blind eye or pretend it isn’t happening. No one can afford to ignore this problem anymore.

Parents, children, principals, teachers…everyone has a part to play. Parents can’t leave parenting up to the schools, because the schools can’t do it. However, I do believe schools need to send a strong message that bullying won’t be tolerated. There needs to be accountability and a better security system in place.

It is a shame our schools have to turn into a juvenile detention center instead of being an institution for learning.

Awareness and knowledge is the first step, and I believe “13 Reasons Why” accomplished that. Now the rest is on us. Instead of protesting, debating and disagreeing about this series, why not use the energy to be proactive in spreading awareness and helping to stop bullying which is claiming the lives of our youth.

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Help One Now

Meet Naiderson. My sons and I watched this video together.

I do not want them growing up not knowing the needs that exist around the world. I’m also trying to instill in them biblical principles.

God teaches us not to forget the poor or the orphans. (James 1:27)

I’m trying to serve in any way I can which is why I am now a Help One Now blogger.

This is all voluntary. I do not get paid to blog for any organization. I do this on my own accord as a way of giving back and helping in some small way.

God has given me the gift of writing and I want to sow it back to Him.

The Lord seems to be reminding me lately about the necessity and importance of children receiving an education.

I just finished reading and reviewing a book called Creating Room To Read by John Woods which is about the importance of education. Mostly, children living in poverty around the world who do not have access to books or schools.

Help One Now is helping children in Haiti which Unicef reports the education statistics are very bleak.

When we watched the video of Naiderson, we were very sad. After the earthquake in Haiti, it left children like Naiderson without schools.

I’ve learned by John Wood and Nick Kristof that children receiving an education is one of the ways to break the cycle of poverty.

In the days ahead, I will be blogging more about the work Help One Now is involved in and how you can get involved or help.

If you are moved to give, just click on the photo above to donate towards this cause. Any amount will be helpful and appreciated.

 

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Creating Room To Read by John Wood

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult (February 7, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0670025984
ISBN-13: 978-0670025985
Price: $27.95
Purchase: Amazon | BN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Description

The inspirational story of a former Microsoft executive’s quest to build libraries around the world and share the love of books.

What’s happened since John Wood left Microsoft to change the world? Just ask six million kids in the poorest regions of Asia and Africa. In 1999, at the age of thirty-five, Wood quit a lucrative career to found the nonprofit Room to Read. Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the Andrew Carnegie of the developing world,” he strived to bring the lessons of the corporate world to the nonprofit sector—and succeeded spectacularly.

In his acclaimed first book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, Wood explained his vision and the story of his start-up. Now, he tackles the organization’s next steps and its latest challenges—from managing expansion to raising money in a collapsing economy to publishing books for children who literally have no books in their native language. At its heart, Creating Room to Read shares moving stories of the people Room to Read works to help: impoverished children whose schools and villages have been swept away by war or natural disaster and girls whose educations would otherwise be ignored.

People at the highest levels of finance, government, and philanthropy will embrace the opportunity to learn Wood’s inspiring business model and blueprint for doing good. And general readers will love Creating Room to Read for its spellbinding story of one man’s mission to put books within every child’s reach.

Review

I first learned of John Wood several months ago while watching a program called “Half the Sky” with Nick Kristof and his beautiful wife Sheryl WuDunn. The program is based on a book they both wrote together. Much like John Wood, they are doing a marvelous work around the world.

I began following Nick Kristof because he is an activist against child sex slavery in countries such as Cambodia, India, etc. Both he and his wife are proactive in girls being educate around the world, especially in oppressed nations.

On the program, Nick Kristof interviewed John Wood about the wonderful work he is doing through his nonprofit organization called Room to Read.

Creating Room To Read chronicles John Wood’s journey with Room to Read. He shares his life and the stories of various children. He also shares his vision and desire for every child to be able to read and have books. Thus, promoting global literacy.

I am inspired by his heart, devotion and sacrifice. I truly believe he and his team at Room To Read are doing an amazing job in changing the lives of so many children worldwide.

Creating Room To Read will motivate you to want to make a difference. I believe if we all did our part and donated to Room to Read, we could make John Wood’s vision come true.

I challenge you to read this book, it is life changing.

In conclusion, I want to thank Viking Penguin for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review.

John Wood worked for Microsoft for nine years, helping grow the company’s international profile. He resigned at thirty-five and founded Room to Read, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s top nonprofit organizations. He documented his decision and the creation of Room to Read in his memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. He lives in New York City.

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