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The Suburbanite
  • King’s View: An open letter to area students and young people

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  • Don’t do it. You may think about it, but please, don’t do it. I’m talking about suicide. It just isn’t worth it.
    You may have heard that a teen in Summit County recently committed suicide.
    Parents and grandparents got lumps in their throats and their eyes got moist when they heard the news. Some wept openly. Some are grieving as if this teen were their own.
    The school principal said no one saw it coming; there were no signs or hints. Sometimes we never know of another’s troubled heart, confused mind or damaged soul. Because no one knew, some may think it exonerates us. But we’re all at fault, because the system failed. It didn’t work like it was supposed to.
    Somewhere along the way, we didn’t make it clear to this young person that there is help out there, that being troubled, hurt and unsure aren’t signs of weakness but signs of normalcy. All teenagers go through that. All grownups go through that. It is a part of life from the day we’re born until the day we die.
    But somehow, this young person didn’t realize there were options to get through the troubling times in life. There are parents, friends, teachers, coaches, agencies — so many places to turn and so many people to turn to that the hardest part is simply picking one.
    School counselors, for example, are trained to offer help to all students.
    “What we need to do is get back more to the basics and let kids know that when it comes to even thinking about suicide, they simply can’t go there. They can’t even entertain those thoughts,” said a counselor at the teen’s school. “We’ve got to let them know that, at their young age, they’re just not equipped to deal with that thought process. I stead, they need to talk to people and talk things out, because something they view as a big problem — something that they think they can’t get past, that they can’t move on from — is not really the problem they think it is. We make it clear to them that it’s certainly not worth thinking about taking their own life ...”
    Young people, to learn from this tragedy and honor the memory of your friend and classmate, you must pledge to those around you that if you feel completely hopeless, you will seek help.
    You are too important to too many people – more people than you know, really, more people than you can count — to remove yourself from everyone’s lives. I’m rooting for you to be the best that you can be and to realize all your dreams.
    Page 2 of 2 - I know life isn’t easy. Everyone young and old, big and small, male and female — struggles every single day to make it through. Sometimes we know we’ll get there, but other times, we’re not so sure. What we’re up against — whatever it is, or however long it’s been there — seems too big, too powerful and too tough to move.
    But really, it isn’t. There is strength in numbers. You’re never alone. Help is just a phone call, a text, a tweet or a shout away. And you’re not bothering anyone when you ask for help. That’s what it’s there for. Adults can help, too, because we’ve been there. Maybe it we didn’t go through the exact same thing, but we’ve faced problems and may have thought there was no way out.
    But there is. Always. Just make it through the darkness of the night and get to the dawn of the next day, and things will look a little different, a little better.
    No one is perfect, and neither are their lives. You may see someone and think he’s got it all figured out, but he struggles, too.
    He just keeps moving. Because if you give in and let life beat you, then no one will ever know all the great things you would have done in your life, how you might have even changed the world.
    Did you know that Abraham Lincoln, considered our greatest president, harbored thoughts of suicide growing up? What if he had gone through with it?
    Think about that if you’re ever overwhelmed, and you’ll realize just how much you’re worth, just how valuable you are, to everyone around you.