First things first. Go to Google. Type the number 13 in. Yeah, you saw that correctly, assuming it is still the same as when I posted this blog. I get the above for the most searched for phrases. Is this scary to anyone other than myself? I hope so.
In case you have been living under a rock, behind a mountain, or free of Netflix (or anyone who has Netflix) you have probably heard of this show. Thirteen Reasons Why is hitting kids in schools hard. Really hard.
I think I understand the message they are trying to send. Be careful what you say and how you treat people, because you never know just how it will impact them. I get it. It’s a message that needs to be out there. But do the kids get it?
You see, this is a book as well. My kids love books, I work very hard to ingrain that love into them. When kids come up and ask my opinion on a book, I try to be honest with them. As teachers, we have to play a careful role with kids. We monitor what they read, guide them, teach them to choose wisely. What we try not to do is limit them unreasonably. But… there are times when some limits need to be considered. Sure, ideally, these limits should be set by the parents. In reality, how many parents do you have actually encouraging kids to read? Not as many as you would like, I would guess.
I am not sure that allowing 12-14 year old kids (yeah, these are hormone raging pubescent kids) to read a book where someone take suicide as the way out of their troubles is a good idea. People are impulsive, kids tend to be even more so. Being a teenager is rough. It’s been a LONG time since I have been one, and I remember, it was a time of constant ups and downs. When kids are down, they need to know that the up time is coming… not that people will remember them fondly if they are suddenly gone. And that, seems to be what the kids are seeing. Sure, not all the time, but how many of our kids are we willing to wander around with that thought? Kids are not known for their rational, well thought out plans. Be careful what you feed them.
Instead, we need to project messages more along the lines of “13 Reasons Why Life Has So Much In Store For You” or “13 Reasons Why (any positive message).
Maybe as kids get older, and they are guided carefully through the text, well… maybe. For me, not so much. I would rather make sure my kids know just how awesome life is, and could be.