MaryAnna Paris, a mum from Connecticut has written an open letter to her 11-year-old son's bullies, although she had always suspected that he was being bullied, last week she was alerted to it by one of her son's teachers and she wrote this letter.
If you have children it might be a nice idea to read them this letter, just to remind them that sometimes, even when they think they're just "teasing" someone, that they need to stop, because they have no idea what that person has been through.
"This might be long winded. I apologize for that. We all have children in our lives in some way or another, I challenge you to show and teach your children (or the children in your lives) my son’s story. Maybe knowing his background is the difference.
Even the best children have moments of insecurity and weakness. Teaching and showing them why he (or anybody else) is different might be the more positive way. Sometimes knowing is learning and growing. Sometimes we all need a reminder, because we all can have our moments.
Michael was born at 26 weeks. Just over 3 months premature. I am not his bio mom. But in every other way, I am his mother. He spent the first 3 months of his life fighting to survive. Shunts, blood transfusions, etc. His mother left him 3 months later. He has survived failure to thrive and numerous other health issues to become the strong, healthy boy he is.
He didn’t learn to talk till he was 3 years old. Walking was very delayed. He didn’t have teeth till after his first birthday. He was so very behind. But he loved. Oh how he loved. To this day, his smile is the best thing ever. There is not one person he doesn’t like/love, including those who tormented him today. He forgives and honestly, he forgets too.
There is not one judgemental bone in his body. I strive to be more like him daily but fall very short. You called him brace face today, before you were picking on him because of his eating habits. Did you know he physically can not control the food staying in his mouth. Or how very bad his hand/eye coordination is. Those braces are just one of the many steps he will endure, to help align his lower jaw that never fully developed. So he doesn’t spill his food or chew weirdly anymore. So you won’t pick on him.
Kicking his chair, calling him stupid, ugly, brace face, bucky beaver. Telling him to sit down and shut up is not the way. You don’t have to like him, but you do have to respect him. He’s a fighter, that’s a very small portion of his story. Share, teach, grow. Most importantly respect those around, you never know what they have been through."
When speaking to Fox News, MaryAnn said "my post is definitely getting the reaction I had hoped and then some. It is overwhelming but necessary. Any form of bullying is not ok, if this helps in some small or large way, then it has done so much more than allowing an angry and hurt mom vent.
Of Michael, MaryAnna said: ‘He’s tough and it warms my heart that he is so resilient. Clearly in the post, you can see he has not had an easy life and it comes into who he is – the silly, the goofy, the confidence…he knows he’s different from other kids, but he accepts it. I’m proud of him."
So actually, even if you haven't got children, remember the words of this letter and think before you speak, you never know what someone else is going through or what your words can do to hurt a person.
Thank you MaryAnn for speaking out and we hope that things get easier for Michael very soon!