After 7 students committed suicide, the Mesa Valley School District in Colorado briefly took 13 Reasons Why — the book on which the Netflix series by the same name is based — out of circulation . The ban lasted no more than a few hours.
Other school districts have made the book mandatory summer reading.
13 Reasons Why is a work of fiction in which a high school girl kills herself, leaving behind tapes to be played after her death. Critics of the book – myself included – view it as romanticizing suicide, without providing young readers an alternative perspective.
A Daily Assault
Our children are daily assaulted by a culture that lionizes physical appearance, popularity/fame, athletic ability, wealth, and conformity.
Most do not meet the requisite criteria, in one way or another. Those who do not may be excluded from normal activities, made the butt of jokes, taunted, intimidated, told that they are worthless, and urged to commit suicide .
Some 4400 will take their own lives . Suicide is, in fact, the third leading cause of death among young people. Over 5000 middle and high school students in the United States attempt suicide daily. Over 14% of high school students admit to having considered it.
As parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, scout leaders, and mentors of every sort, it is up to us to equip our children to deal with this barrage of insults, lies, and pain.
Reasons Not to Commit Suicide
The website Notes from the Recovering Self-Harmer provides a list of 40 reasons not to commit suicide . Among them are the fact that suicide is final, the hope that things will get better, music, smiles, laughter, chocolate, and sunrises.
More even than these, the love of family, friends, and – above all else – God should anchor us. But not all children have those to rely on. When there is abuse (emotional/physical/sexual) or neglect in the home, the image of God can be greatly distorted. Continue reading