this morning i am sadly moved by the headline weary story of phoebe prince. for those of you who have been fortunate enough to dodge the nightly news, phoebe is the girl who, after living months of torment and hell inflicted on her by her "peers," couldn't bare the pain any longer and chose to end her life.
i'd seen headlines for this story plastered all over the internet news sources, but until today i hadn't chanced to read of such a heartrendering account. this morning though, as i sipped my coffee and perused the top stories on cnn (and yes, it makes me sick to see the attention being wasted on tiger woods - a sorry character indeed) i clicked and read phoebe's sad story.
as i read, my mother's heart felt a stab of pain much as if my own child had felt her pain. who are these people, these heartless teenagers, that could take such pleasure, such satisfaction in hurting someone so? how were they raised that they could be capable of such behaviour? where are their parents? where were the teachers who might have been able to reach out to this girl?
numerous students from phoebe's school admitted that "everyone knew" of the hateful actions and harassment exacted upon her. it was obvious what was happening, yet no one stepped in to defend her. being a teenager is painful in and of itself, let alone being the object of cruel and malicious torture. for all accounts, it appears that the root cause of phoebe's torment was a boy. two boys. all of this over a guy. i shake my head at the waste of it all.
her tormentors were, are monsters. anyone who would turn a blind eye such cruelty also shares the blame. and as parents we're to blame too when we turn our heads on our responsibility in teaching our children the "do unto others" rule, exemplifying in our own actions to love thy neighbor as thyself. who are they to learn from, if not us, the meaning of humility? do we even understand that word - humility? does anyone anymore?
i pray for the soul of this troubled young girl. i pray for her parents. i pray for the sad and sorry hearts of her persecutors - where do they go from here? what hope do they have if, at this early stage of their lives, they are capable of such cruel and despicable actions? and i pray for us, as a people, that we may see the beauty of humanness in the eyes of everyone we meet and that we might realize that as creations of a loving god, there's a part of us in every other living soul. when we're cruel to others, in reality we're only hurting ourselves.
1. the quality or state of being humble
2. respectful; feeling or showing
respect or deference
toward other people
in the grand scheme of things, you and me make we.
may we always know that, practice it, and simply...be.
photo - a flower for phoebe from my collection
taken at the chicago botanic garden in last february