Kids meet Jay Asher, author of ’13 Reasons Why’

Author Jay Asher poses with the kids
Author Jay Asher poses with the kids

After attending different area events and speaking with many people; I believe there will be a significant and positive ripple-effect felt throughout all of the Tuscarawas County.

During the month of October 2015 the entire community has come together to host guest speakers, library discussions, contests and other events that all focus on one main idea; The prevention of bullying and self-harm.

(This is due to the national attention for October being ‘Bully Prevention Month’.)

With all of this light being shed on such a dark and often too-sensitive topic, I am truly taken by surprise with how well the community has accepted this taboo subject and really delved deep into it—not just the adults—but, teen participation as well.

I tried to show my kids that the issue of bullying, sadness, addiction, and self-harm are real problems that all sorts of people, from every walk of life, can deal with at any stage of in lives.

I typically do not share photos of my children on the internet—for safety reasons—but, I really felt it was important to convey that taking your kids to events like this and talking to them about these types of issues are important. (At least I think so)

The event itself was very insightful, even for someone like me that has known many people that struggle with some of these difficulties.

You would think that the he would approach the speech from the same dark and raw place that he wrote the book ’13 Reasons Why’. (The premise of the book is about a teen girl that commits suicide and has sent out tapes to all 13 people that impacted her to decide to end her life.)

However, Jay Asher was very upbeat and kept the whole room laughing and completely engaged while discussing how he created the book and the characters.

Who knows what my children took away from the information and resources given by the staff and Mr. Asher. Maybe someday one of those tips will come in handy, or perhaps they will feel inclined to volunteer their time to help people that struggle with these problems.

Even now, I can recall as a pre-teen and teenager, learning to find ways to accept the deeper “new way” I felt about things that bothered me. Often times, I think adults forget how overwhelmed they felt as a young adult.

I can think of a lot of kids that I grew up with, or went to school with that just needed someone to be there for them. Someone to listen and not be treated weird; like there is something wrong with them because they feel strongly about an issue in their life.

Paraphrasing from a teen I heard while covering the story for the event, what seems insignificant to one person, could be life changing to another.

I felt a distinct and overwhelming need to introduce my kids to this subject matter. Hopefully, I was able to show them that not only am I here for them, I don’t want them to be afraid to talk about such a sensitive subject. With any luck they would approach me in the future if they struggled with any of these feelings, or themselves, be willing to talk to one of their friends if they start to display any of the self-harm warning signs.

So I wonder; am I the only person that can recall the difficult times when you were in school? Do you remember what it felt like when someone wasn’t being nice to you, or didn’t want to be around you? Did you ever feel like not going to school because of a fight with a friend, or a rumor that was being spread about you? Is there anyway you could open a dialogue with your children about these issues and just let them know that you are there for them?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject! Leave comments in the box below.

You can find the article I wrote on this particular event for the Bargain Hunter if you follow this link:

http://www.tuscbargainhunter.com/article/20151007/FEATURES/710079965/0/tbh?sectioncat=tbh

 

 

 

 

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