When I was a child, September meant two things: the start of school and writing my letter to Santa Claus. As my mother explained, I had to write it early because the letter had to travel all the way to the North Pole and the elves would need time to gather everything.
As the mom of a 5-year-old, I now know it was all about creating the Christmas budget.
This was the case when Karen Suffern from North Carolina asked her 8-year-old twins to write down what they wanted for Christmas. The single mom wanted to do her best to grant some of their wishes, which she expected would now include more expensive items.
The fraternal twins, Ryan and Amber, had just started third grade a few weeks earlier and were in the same class for the first time. Ryan witnessed his sister being tormented by bullies because of her weight and being multiracial.
This broke his heart.
So when the 8-year-old sat down to write his letter to Santa, he thought about what he really wanted and then wrote this:
I wanted a remot contor car and helieopter, but I don’t want that anymor. Kid at school are still picking on Amber and its not fair because she doesn’t do anything to them and it makes me mad. I prayed that they will stop but god is bisy and needs your help. Is it against the rules to give gift early?” [all sic]
This was not the request his mom was expecting.
Karen had been aware that her daughter was being bullied, but not the extent. It was Ryan that filled her in on the details of exactly what happened. “Every day when she goes to school, she says, ‘Mommy, can I just stay at home?’ and she just doesn’t want to go.’ And now every time I send her to school, I feel like I am not protecting her and I am letting her down,” Suffern told CNN.
Much attention has been paid to bullying in recent years. Study after study has found the effects of school bullying detrimental to the mental and physical well being of victims. The Internet has made it impossible for victims to avoid their tormentors as cyber bullying has made it a round the clock event. The pressure can be deadly. Bullying also has unintended consequences for family members. They can share in the feelings of sadness, anger, and hopelessness – as Ryan’s letter shows.
Moved by her son’s letter, she shared it on online with her friends, as well as with blogger Tony Posnanski. He was so touched by the story of Karen’s family, he himself a victim of childhood bullying due to a lifelong battle with his weight, he decided to write about it. He shared his feelings and their story on CNN’s iReport.
Posnanski tells the New York Daily News that “Anything with bullying gets to me. That’s what really touched me about this story. I was overweight as a child, and I was once over 400 pounds. I learned the best way to defeat a bully is self-esteem.”
Due to the attention, the twins’ school, Rocky Mountain Prep Charter, issued a statement on their website, indicating they were aware of the incident and were saddened that it had occurred. They stated that they were taking it seriously and were intervening immediately.
Ryan had an additional request for Santa in his letter in regards to his sister’s birthday:
“Can you ask Big Time Rush to Amber’s B-day party? It will make her so happy. If you can’t get them to come but get her everything she ask for. Thanks Santa. P.S. My mom throw the best B-day partys. You can come if you want.” [all sic]
Ryan is the most perfect brother ever. EVER.
In response to the request about Big Time Rush (it’s Nickelodean’s answer to the Monkees, except they’re a hockey playing boy band), a “Please Play Amber’s Birthday Party, Big Time Rush“ campaign has started and their Facebook page has been inundated with requests for them to help a little girl’s dreams come true, including one from Tony Posnanski himself.
If this video is any indication, Santa’s elves are hard at work on your request, Ryan.
Photo credit: TonyPosnanski.com
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