Children are our future, bro, and sometimes this future seems more grim than others. With the aid of technology, kids are worse dicks to each other now than ever, and it’s a rare unicorn of an individual who makes it out of adolescence in 2013 unscathed. But even I, one of unshakable stone-cold heart and tremendously tight upper lip (neither of those things are true), am not immune to the warm, positive feelings imparted by this 8-year-old’s letter to Santa. Karen Suffern, a financially struggling single mother of twins, wanted to begin budgeting for the holidays, so she asked her son, Ryan, and his sister, Amber, to start their Christmas lists in advance.
This is no standard mercenary letter to Santa — no, not at all. Ryan began his letter to Santa as you do, telling old St. Nick that he wanted a remote control car and helicopter, but then things took a turn for the heartbreakingly earnest (and, as follows, unedited). “I don’t want that anymore,” he wrote. “Kid at school are still picking on Amber and its not fair. I prayed that they will stop but god is bisy and needs your help.”
Karen Suffern said her eyes welled with tears as she read her son’s letter. She was aware that Amber, who at 140 pounds is nearly twice the size of her brother, was teased at school, but not to the extent her son was clearly witness to. “I try to build up my daughter’s self-esteem and tell her she is beautiful, but people say hurtful things to me, because I also have a weight problem, and that hurts me,” Suffern said. “I can’t imagine what she goes through.”
Earlier this month, the body of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick was discovered after she committed suicide, with no less than 15 other girls under investigation for her ongoing bullying. In April, Nigel Hardy, 13, shot himself after being bullied for being a male cheerleader. More dispiriting yet, these are just two cases of the many, many young people who have ended their lives much too soon as a result of bullying.
This is no small matter, and Suffern says she hopes her son’s heartfelt letter will bring more awareness to our nation’s pervasive bullying problem amongst children. “If my kids don’t call names and pick on others, I would expect other parents to teach their kids to be respectful, too,” she said. “There have been times my kids would point at others and say, ‘why is her hair so strange’ and things like that, and I would say, ‘You know, people are different, and that is just the way they are.’”
“P.S.,” Ryan added to his letter, at the very bottom. “My mom throws the best B-day partys you can come if you want.” [IB Times]