I was horrified today to learn about a 7 year-old terminally ill girl who was being bullied by her grown neighbor. The news videos were heartbreaking — a woman and her husband posted photoshopped pictures of the girl’s dead mother in the arms of the Grim Reaper and the child with a skull and crossbones over her.
I was in tears for this beautiful child and her grief-stricken family, and nauseated at the behavior of these psychopaths.
And then I found pages of what has happened in the days following the news reports.
People around the country have been donating to the family and to a fund set up to give her a fantasy shopping spree at a local toy store. Today, she was picked up by limo to pick out any toys she likes and she will deliver thousands of dollars worth of other toys to children at a local hospital.
Recently, a couple of friends told me that I should not pay attention to upsetting stories and tragedies around the world. They said I’d just depress myself and there were too many suffering people in the world to be able to do any good.
I beg to differ.
Years ago, I found out about an evil couple who were telling parents to beat their children into submission with tree limbs and plumbing line, starting in infancy. I was sickened and haunted by what I read, and I spoke up about it loudly.
Soon after, a salon.com writer published an article about the teachings. The article got thousands of views and raised awareness.
Last year, a child was killed by parents who followed this horrific advice, and I wrote a series of articles about it and once again spoke up often and loudly. Prosecutors and police had found the salon.com article online and tied the couple to those teachings (though no charges can be filed against the authors). News reports wrote about the books and Facebook groups formed about better ways to discipline children.
It was only then that a friend of mine told me that she’d forwarded one of my early emails to a friend of hers who worked at salon.com, which led to that first article. I was one small piece in an ever-growing movement to balance out the bad with good.
We make ripples that go out into the world every day of our lives — with our parenting, with our relationships, with our actions and with our words. Those ripples can go much farther than we ever realize.
I continue to speak out about evil and unfairness, and I am not a depressed person.
Actually, I am one of the happiest people I know.
It’s true I often cry for the grieving mothers, abused children and other victims of suffering that are so plentiful in this world. There’s some pain that nothing I do can take away. Most of it, actually.
But there’s a lot of good that I can do just by acknowledging it, talking about it and doing my own small deeds to balance it out.
And it’s a really wonderful feeling to know that when people do let the world know about the bad stuff out there, there is generally an army of goodness that reacts.
I like being in that army of goodness. It’s pretty nice company.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” ~Edmund Burke
- “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.“ ~Margaret Mead