an open letter to allies of carol todd

February 15, 2013 | 46 Comments

Shannon making a heart shape with her hands

Dear Friends of Carol Todd,

In my last post, some of you didn’t like this:

What happened with Amanda Todd is the saddest. The focus was and still is on her actions, when it should have been on loving the shit out of her and calling out the cruelty of those who tormented her.

Fair enough. I wasn’t clear.

I don’t think love could have saved Amanda. I know what it’s like to be loved and still want to leave this world.

My statement above was addressing chatter on how Amanda handled her bullies. Even in circles of smart, open-minded, equality-advocating people—the conversation almost always finds its way back to what Amanda did. I want to focus on the bullies. What is missing in them that causes their behaviour and how can we change it? Let’s figure that out. And let’s raise our kids to be big-hearted, decent, compassionate, brave, virtuous people who, under all (safe) circumstances, rally around victims.

Instead of victim blaming, let’s:

I don’t have parenthood figured out. I don’t think my daughter is immune to anything. I know nothing about Carol beyond the couple short exchanges we shared. I imagine that woman did everything in her mama bones for her girl. And then some. And even if she didn’t, I have zero judgement, because parenthood is some kinda crazy business that I mess up ALL. THE. TIME. All the time. I choose love and conversation and tears and celebration and support over judgement. Parenting is tricky, terrifying, soul-filling, white-knuckling territory. We need each other. I’m on Carol’s side, too. I promise.

Thank you for pushing me to be more articulate. Your fierce protectiveness of Carol is understandable and beautiful. What’s she’s been through demands that kind of friendship.

Love and healing,

Shannon

Other sources for parents:


Like Truthfully on Facebook. Free hugs for everyone. (For real.) 

Yeah Write: Moonshine edition.

Other loveable posts:

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Join the conversation

  • http://www.hairofthedogs.me Louise Ducote

    I’m impressed with your ability to be kind, open-minded and undefensive. I had not heard of Amanda Todd (because I live under a rock with no television, but it’s nice under here), so I looked her up after reading your post. Sadness beyond words.

    • Shannon

      I miss the news a lot, too, Louise. Hugs.

  • http://www.happinesscubed.net Dawn Beronilla

    Amanda’s story is that saddest I have heard in a long time and more proof that bullying needs to stop.

    • Shannon

      What do we do? I have some ideas brewing, but it’s not enough. More hugging around here, for starters.

  • http://www.simplyshegoes.com Kianwi

    Amanda’s story is the saddest, I agree. And I also agree that the focus needs to be on the bullies. Good for you for taking the time to explain yourself, instead of getting defensive. That is an excellent example of one of the ways we can limit bullying…communication.

    • Shannon

      Talking is good. I always feel better after I talk to someone, face-to-face especially. It’s a good start.

  • http://livingoffscript.com Bee

    I hadn’t heard about this story until I read your posts. It’s incredibly sad. It also reminds me of a book called “This Beautiful Life” by Helen Shulman, where something very similar happens. It isn’t a great book, but it’s told from the point of view of the mother of the boy who made the video go viral.

    • Shannon

      Oh wow. That would be an interesting perspective to write from. I’m reading “We Need to Talk about Kevin” right now.

  • http://kerstinauer.tumblr.com Kerstin @ Auer Life

    Amanda Todd hit home for me in more than one way. I live in BC and my son had some issues with bullying.
    First of all I’m glad that this is still being talked about, because it’s been half a year and incidents like that are forgotten all too fast.
    I agree with you on every single one of the points you make about how we should raise our kids!

    • Shannon

      I’m in BC, too. I’m glad it’s being talked about, too. I think it’s amazing that Carol is out there with a broken heart, advocating for change. Hugs to her.

  • http://doesanyonecarewhatiwrite.blogspot.com Gina

    I hadn’t heard about Amanda (that’s my daughter’s name) until reading your post. I was heartbroken for her family because I know the devastating collateral damage suicide has. No matter what, no parent deserves this to happen to them. No child should feel despair of this level. But they do. Life is tough. I know a bit about bullying from one of my kids. It sucks and leaves parents almost powerless.

    Your first post was informative and sensitive. This one was brave and compassionate.

  • My Half Assed Life

    The Amanda Todd story is a terrible tragedy.

  • Bina

    “Let’s figure that out. And let’s raise our kids to be big-hearted, decent, compassionate, brave, virtuous people who, under all (safe) circumstances, rally around victims.”

    You do have it “figured out” in your words above….it’s “WE” who must instill these values in our children, but unfortunately many adults are either not aware of the importance of these social, human graces, or they don’t have the tools to incorporate it into their children’s lives. Schools teach too much algebra… and not enough on how to function as a community…in school, and in the real world.

    • Shannon

      I disagree that I have it figured out, but I do have some clear ideas about the space I want to create for my Emma. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be smooth sailing.

  • http://www.modmombeyondindiedom.blogspot.com Mod Mom Beyond IndieDom

    So incredibly sad what happened to Amanda and I agree with you 100%.

    • Shannon

      It is sad. Thanks for writing.

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