As I stood up to address the group, including Lizzie's parents and brother, I had trouble putting together a sentence. And I'm never speechless. Actions do speak louder than words, and when I first learned about what Lizzie was doing for women and anyone who's been bullied, I was struck by her courage.
Sadly, we live in a culture of digital cruelty that no one is immune to. Whether you are a celebrity, the child of a sports figure, or an average person trying to get through life -- you can be struck down by the emotional keystrokes of cyber-bullets.
There's nothing to be happy about -- no feel-good takeaways -- when a middle school girl gets insulted by a man and has to speak up for him so he can continue a baseball career no one gives a fuck about. She is not supposed to be anyone's savior or protector. We need to be saving and protecting her.
For most of my life, I identified as 'straight'. I married young and had kids. Then I met Mac. Mac was my earthquake. Loving a transgender man has rewired my brain and changed how I look at sexuality and the world.
Faggot. It's unfortunately a word that most gay men have had thrown at them at some point in their life. It's a word that Devin Norman heard yelled at him in a grocery store parking lot this weekend before he was allegedly brutally beaten for being a gay man in Mississippi.
Our kids aren't all that different then we were at this age. But their access to social media makes their quickly made decisions capable of being a little bigger, a little louder, have a little more impact, a bigger punch, if you will.
Bullying ends when we step forward and hold our social circles responsible for their words and actions and how those affect people around us. It also ends when we stop being passive about this awful social behavior, step up and unite. To love, peace and happy confident children!
I hadn't experienced that blood/metal/electric taste in years, but it came roaring back last night. And it was stronger than ever. I'm no longer the helpless little boy I was when I quietly swallowed the injustice and brutality of each of those patient stories.
My readers know that I abhor anonymous online posting, as so many reek of vitriol, envy and plain old maliciousness. What really makes me wonder is how college students tolerate and rationalize the codified anonymity of growing social networks like Yik Yak.
How can you prepare your daughter to effectively cope with bullying in all of its forms, at any point in her day? What follows are four simple, but powerful strategies you can teach your daughter to maintain her personal power, even in a difficult peer relationship:
Digital parenting isn't for sissies. Nothing's prepared us for Kik, Yik Yak , Vine, Ask.fm, Whisper, Secret, Instagram, Omegle, Tumblr or whatever other social media app lurks in the mind of the barely-adult person who's about to create it.
Fat girls are less attractive, less worthy, more obnoxious and more unwanted. Skinny girls are the opposite: pretty, worthy, smart and desirable. And because they thought I was fat... well, the rest fell into place, too.
In order to stop public shaming, we should all be held accountable and be role models to our children, our peers and others. Lead by example and show words of kindness can and do make a world of difference.
Every day, I learn so much about the world through the eyes of my children. My boys are 15 and nine and, like so many kids their age; they are significantly more fluent with technology and social media than I ever will be.
These negative words are words often used by a bully. Many of us are familiar with the character that just constantly tormented us. I realized that this bully character, which I thought I said farewell to after my teen years, never disappeared in my life. And that person was me.
I spoke to the cast at rehearsals last month and marveled as the production evolved before my eyes into a singing, dancing powerhouse punctuated by dialogue that rings true and real.