Some of you may not know this, but for 11 years, I was a Youth Pastor, and worked with young girls primarily ages 11-18. I miss that more than words can say, and it's interesting to me that some of the girls I first worked with are now young mothers, college graduates, people making a difference in their own world, and when I met them, they seemed fragile, so young, so vulnerable. I have a personal faith background but I took an unusual approach to Youth Ministry, and probably to ministry itself. I don't need to indoctrinate anyone. At first this was a point of contention at the first church that hired me. They were steeped in tradition and old ways. I simply felt like the only message the teens I worked with needed to hear was that they were loved. The very core of my faith comes from love and hopefully pours that love out to others. To complicate it, which I think many religions do, there are doctrines and denominations and cultures and traditions and so much more. I put that aside and focused on the child, because despite them feeling so grown up, they were children, and the child's basic need to feel loved.
Children AND adults need love, need that love affirmed, and need it affirmed often. The rest is just details. To me... anyway. And children who are bullied are often the ones who feel unworthy of love. That's a travesty to me, and something we can overcome, one person at a time. Bullying occurs at many ages and stages, can accompany cultural bias, hate crimes, and other violent acts, where one group thinks they have all the answers and have the right to tell those who are not like them that they are bad, stupid, and words I would not retype/resay but words that hurt deeply and leave scars.
I find little things like the Pink Shirt campaign works, one step at a time, one person at a time, and as more and more people join together, more good will come of it and change will occur. Each one love one.
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