The Mentor thread

Well, it’s not so much about being a mentor, as it is about creating a thread which can provide positive inspiration.

What started it all was this thread. Many people have given their (quite accurate IMO) opinions of the behaviour of “sir” on the bus in that thread,but as people have already pointed out, that thread might not be appropriate for the children themselves to read because of some of the language we use to condemn such behaviour.

As much as you can ever influence the direction of any thread you start around here, I’m looking for this one to be one in which people post their personal stories in a way which gives encouragement to young people only beginning to face the challenges which many of our community have already conquered.

So I’m asking us in this community who’ve experienced something bad as children for which we have become the targets of insensitivity and ridicule to compose a post which conveys the very same things you’d say to a child going through those same issues if that child was in front of you right now. The only thing I ask is that we do not derail this into a discussion of people’s responses to disability, poverty, race, religion, sexuality, child abuse, whatever. I want this to be a thread in which children can find both understanding and inspiration.

Hi

Whoever is reading this now, I’d like to tell you a little bit about why we created this thread. It’s because some adult said something really nasty to a little boy on a bus one day about something that little boy couldn’t control or change.

We’re mostly adults here. Some of us are men, some of us are women, some of us are around your own age or that of your big brother or sister.

Some of us have bad scars - I do. Some of us are black. Some of us are white (that’s me too). Some of us stutter. Some of us don’t walk so well. Some of us can’t hear at all. Some of us don’t walk or run too well. Some of us have to go to hospital quite often because we are sick.

This is a very special place. This is a place where it doesn’t matter what you look like, or what colour your skin is, or whether you can run fast, or whether your parents have money, or whether both sides of your face look the same.

The chances are that you’ll find someone here who has been made to feel bad at times for exactly the same reasons you’re feeling bad right now. And those people grew up into fine human beings who we all love and admire. Those people are us.

So if right now, you’re feeling angry or sad because your legs don’t work properly, or because you can’t see words the way other people see them, or because you’re sick and have to have treatment which makes you look different from other kids, we want you to know one thing. At some time, at least one adult here was a little kid being picked on or feeling left out for the same reasons as you’re being picked on or feeling left out now.

Kids can’t post on our messageboard unless they’re over 13, but that doesn’t stop us adults from reaching out to you and telling you our stories about how it felt to us as kids and how our lives are now.

This thread is a gift to all of you children out there from all of us adults who faced the same issues and problems when we were kids.

When I was a little girl, my dad used to touch me in bad ways. Sometimes it made me feel good when he touched me that way; sometimes it made me feel really bad. Sometimes my dads friends used to touch me the same way and I used to let them because they were my dad’s friends and I wanted to please my dad and to please them.

When I got a bit older, I found out that other people’s dad’s don’t usually touch them that way. I got called a lot of names by my friends at school whose dad’s didn’t touch them that way. It was pretty confusing. I loved my dad. I did what my dad told me, and my friends weren’t just telling me that I shouldn’t have done what my dad told me, they were telling me that there was something wrong with me.

But what my friends said to me wasn’t nearly as scary as what some adults used to say around me. They used to call me a “slut” and a “tease” and a whole lot of other words.

I’m 42 years old now. I have 3 amazing children, and what I realise now that I’m an adult and have children of my own is that not one of those adults who ever called me names or thought what was going on in our family was “wrong” ever did anything to help me or us. Not one of them did anything at all to stop the thing they thought was so “wrong”.

What my dad did to us was wrong, but what those adults who sat around calling us names did was even more wrong, because they knew about it and had the power to do something about it and they did not.

So if you’re one of those people being called names by adults right now, don’t let them upset you. A “real” adult would offer you help, they wouldn’t sit around talking about you on the bus or to your neighbours.

Lots of people here were called names as kids. We’re adults now. We’ve not only survived, we’re mostly happy. I’ll bet those adults who used to sit around talking about us and making us feel awful aren’t anywhere near as happy as we are.

I’d love to name names here and introduce you to other posters and tell you about what the crap they went through as kids because they were in some way “different”, but the whole point of this thread is to let them tell you themselves.

I hope they will.

Just bumping this. Couldn’t say anything better than reprise has, but perhaps someone else can.