Updated: Mar 31
Yesterday I stumbled upon a video of a 9-year-old boy, affected with dwarfism, who was desperately crying after being bullied at school for the umpteenth time. I suppose some of you did as well. Although I am sceptical in nature, and I tend to question the truthfulness of everything that I see on the internet, I was struck by the look in his eyes. That amount of pain and distress cannot be faked. After trying to recompose myself, I started thinking about the future of this child and the consequences that this kind of emotional, and sometimes physical abuse are going to have in his life. Most of all, I couldn’t and still can’t figure out how is it possible, in 2020, that a child has to endure constant mistreat.
I guess that my empathy towards this situation comes greatly from my personal experience. It started in kindergarten, with small, but still mean comments that targeted my weight. I was a chubby girl, and others felt the need to constantly remind me of how “fat” I was. It went on until I started high school. At that point, I had grown a shield around myself and I cared less about what people had to say. For some it’s a trivial matter and they say that kids, no matter the age, do that without wanting to intentionally harm you, but I believe it not to be true. I would understand someone snapping one day and saying the wrong words but, when it becomes systematic, there is ill intent. The gravest thing is when parents of bullies justify their children and brush the situation off. Especially when this is done in front of everyone else.
I cannot compare my situation to Quaden’s, and at the same time I don’t want to say that he is not like any other kid his age. The truth is, people still don’t understand difference, might this be in appearance, health condition, race or even personality. And again, we are all different from one other, so this shouldn’t even be an issue. It becomes one when a child wishes to be dead. At 9. At his age, he should be dreaming of his future, of when he will be old enough to take his life into his hands and make the most of it. And here are my questions: is it so hard to realise that everyone has quirks of their own, or even conditions that they cannot change? Is it so impossible to let people live their own lives? Is it so difficult to be kind to one another?
In a perfect world, the answers would respectively be no, no and no. But even though we don’t live in a perfect world, it’s not too complicated to spread kindness and make a difference. It doesn’t have to be something huge, like changing your whole diet – animals too – or donating everything to the first charity that pops into mind. The first step could be to greet the person who makes you coffee at the coffee shop, or the bus driver, or the cleaner that you meet at university – any other place still counts. I realised how easy it is some time ago, and even though there are still people who will look at you weird and won’t mumble an answer back, it still matters. I believe that small, little acts of kindness can make your world better, and hopefully that of the people you touch.
In the end, I don’t have the answer I was looking for. I still don’t know why a child has to suffer like Quaden, and many others alike. I think that the reasons are to be found in today’s society, but I’m not the right person to discuss this – I prefer to leave it to those who know far more about anthropology and sociology. Personally, I will do my best to live mindfully and to leave this world, a hundred years from now, a better place than the one I was born in. What I can just say is: try to make a change. Be kind to one another.