I saw this article today and it struck me hard.

Gay Oregon Teen, Taken Off Life Support After Hanging Himself

I read about this young man and wondered how he must have been hurting to do this. I thought about how much he left behind, how much he’ll never do. Never fall in love, get married, have a family, laugh and cry with his friends, celebrate his triumphs, and pick himself up from his setbacks.  I think of how much I’d want to say to him, because when I read this, I immediately wondered what I can do to be sure my daughter never feels so despondent that suicide seems the only avenue left.

I want to cry with his family, because even though it is not my child, it is still a child and being a new parent makes me more sensitive to how much every child matters, how we need to watch over all the children, not just our own.  I want to find the kids who did this and do things I shouldn’t even thing about. Anyone who would drive someone to do this isn’t anyone I want around my child.

I worry that with time, my child could be one of those who doesn’t see how much her words hurt and what effect they can have. Will I be a good enough parent to teach her to be a kind, compassionate person, or will I fail and she’ll end up a bully, joining in when others tease the ‘different’ one.

And I’m sad we still read about this, far too often.  As we celebrate the success of gay marriage at the ballot, the president declaring we deserve equal rights, and the shifting public view towards tolerance, we forget in that instance how much we still need to do.  I have no answers, just a mountain of questions.  I don’t want to fail as a parent, not for my daughter, or for any of the other young people she’ll associate with.  This just reminds me how much harder I need to try, because failure is awful beyond words.