By S. James
In my travels of talking with thousands of young people, I never get numb to hearing the many issues plaguing them. It truly weighs on my heart. You would think that they would be having the time of their lives being carefree with occasional bad days and still bouncing back from those challenges. However, I’m seeing that’s not always the case. The amount of young people that stay in heaviness is unfortunately growing. Whatever the causes, they are very real and present in many young people’s lives. I’ve had a college student share about feeling lost about what to do in life, a high school student who professed past attempts of suicide, and a middle school student who confessed being a cutter. I’ve even heard youth in the juvenile center talk about coming from a family where mom, grandma, and uncles are living the street life…and that’s all they know.
Last week was Sandy Hook Promise’s National “Say Something” Week. It is the week where thousands of youth across the nation in participating cities hear the important message of why they need to #SaySomething when they see things getting heavy around them. Why didn’t I write this blog during that week? Well, I purposefully wanted to write this afterward because it’s a message that doesn’t need to get confined to just one week. It’s something that young people need to hear over and over and over again. Whether we are young or old, too many times we let our emotions shut our mouths. We ball up within ourselves and let our emotions pile high. We think we are alone and that no one will understand. We won’t say anything if we desperately need help, and we don’t say anything when someone around us needs help, too.
A big part of the purpose of our lives is to help each other. It doesn’t always mean that we have to buy things, give money, or even donate an organ. It can be as simple as saying something. Speaking up if you see someone being bullied. Speaking up if you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts. Speaking up if you know someone is threatening to harm someone else. Speaking up to simply say, “Hey, are you ok?” We forget that the simplest things in life can mean so much to someone else. So realize that part of your purpose as a human being is to care for another. All you have to do is to #SaySomething, even if it’s for yourself. It’s something all of us can learn to do better.
If you want to learn more about the Say Something program and Sandy Hook Promise. Please visit www.sandyhookpromise.org.