Monday, December 17, 2012

An Inspiring Story

It's been a rough week, with our headlines flooded with tragedies and heartbreak, tales of death and disease. I'm already dealing with all the depression that comes with winter, and so all this was just about to make me fall apart. So in the interest of clinging to positivity, I wanted to share the most inspiring and heart-warming thing I heard this week.

I work with teens now, many of who are already remarkable people with big personalities. One of our high school seniors is a really tall, big guy with a great sense of humor and a easy way with people. He lives and goes to school in one of the rougher areas of the city and is brave enough to both perform on the stage in musicals and attempt to date girls at his school - not always an easy combination, depending on where you live.

A few weeks ago this young man's facebook account was hacked. The prankster posted a fake status in which he announced to everyone he knew that he was gay. This was a complete lie, but the prank would be inappropriate and cruel even if it was the truth. It was clearly and unmistakably an attempt at cyberbullying, done to shame, humiliate, intimidate, and ostracize.

This plan backfired spectacularly.

My young friend's facebook wall was flooded with words of support and love from his friends and family, assuring him of their continued loyalty. And far from being mortified that some people might believe the lie, the young man was so touched by the words of his loved ones that he has decided to leave the status and all its comments up and not delete them.

I asked him if he was worried some people might believe the status if he leaves it up, and he just shrugged.

"The people who know me well will find out its not true," he said, explaining his decision to me, "Besides, how could I delete all those nice things people wrote?"

Times continue to change and it's nice for me to remember how much better some things are already than when I was growing up!