Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mothers United to Save a Boy

Yom chamishi, 20 Shevat 5773.

Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. ~ Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5, Babylonian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 37a

What follows is a re-posting of my friend Romi Sussman's post on her blog Sussmans b'Aretz.  While this post is out of character for both of our blogs, it's subject matter is something we both care about deeply.  Please read and help.  We only have a few days to make a difference.  And the only thing that matters is word and prayer.  No money and not much time is involved.

One Mom's Plea: We All Matter, A Lot

I've written a few times about how social media helped in our Aliyah process with Nefesh B'Nefesh. I was nervous and stewing over a number of issues, and I sent an email to a contact in Israel to pour out my heart. She, in turn, forwarded the email to a number of email groups in Israel and I was flooded with encouragement, answers and reassurance.

Sometimes social media is just silliness. Sometimes, it can change the course of your life.

And we are going to pray and hope that the later will be true for Noah.

A few days ago while I was checking out Facebook, my friend's post caught my eye. One of her friends was having an incredibly difficult situation and was crying out for help.

As Karen explains on the Facebook page that she built for her son, Noah, "My son Noah is 12 years old. On February 8 he will be 13. A teenager at last. This past weekend he posted on his Instagram account that he was planning to commit suicide on his birthday. He also posted images of his arm where he has been cutting himself for the past two months.

Noah has been dealing with bullying for the past year. He has been feeling alone and left out, ostracized from old friends and a misfit among new kids. Things begin to get better, and then another setback. He was once the life of the party among his friends; big man on campus at his first elementary school. Now his self esteem has disappeared.

Noah has been in therapy. I have been doing my very best. But he is in pain. I can't do this alone.

Noah is getting treatment in a hospital now. But it is still not enough."

And in a beautiful act, she turned to her social media outlets to make a difference for her son. Karen has created a page called "Letters for Noah" where she describes her goal. "He needs people to rally. Which is why I've created this page, Letters for Noah. I thought of it last night in the ER when I couldn't sleep. Noah needs to know that He Matters and that It Does Get Better. So many people have been asking me how they can help. Well, this is how:

Today I opened a P.O. Box. I am asking you and your kids to send Noah letters with a message of hope, telling him not to give up. Help him see that He Matters and that It Does Get Better. Please send your letters to:

Letters for Noah P.O. Box 444 Simpsonville, Maryland 21150"

Karen's plea has started to receive some great attention. This article was just in Parenting magazine and she reports that the first of the letters have started pouring in. A blog was just created as well.

I cry every time that I look at Karen's Facebook page and every time that she reports on the latest developments. Our children are so fragile, and their lives and emotions can change so quickly.

What a powerful plan Karen has put into place. She can tell her son that he matters until she's blue in the face; or, she can show him hundreds - maybe thousands - of letters from people who say he matters and who show it with their actions and their words.

Let's use social media to shower Noah with letters of encouragement and love. She's hoping to get most of the mail by his birthday, February 8th. And even if you live far away, as I do, and don't think you can mail a letter the old-fashioned way, you can always re-blog this, join her Facebook page, follow Noah's progress and write a note to him from Facebook.

Because we all matter, a lot.


Michelle said...

This is a beautiful concept. My only concern is the embarassment this 12 year old boy might feel when he realizes this personal information has been shared with the world. Did he consent to his mom's project?

Rebecca said...

My heart goes out to Noah and to all those children and teenagers who have "broken hearts". I can tell you though, as someone in the mental health field, the best way to help a child heal is not by labels, psycho-tropic drugs and hospitalizations. Most of the psychiatric drugs today unfortunately cause suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety. Many psychiatrists and well intentioned but uninformed doctors, social workers, counselors and psychologists have jumped on the bandwagon to label and medicate children and it leads to a life of switching from one drug to another or adding one on top of another and still another. These drugs are addictive and it is virtually impossible to get off of them. In addition, they produce physical and emotional side effects. The best way to help Noah is to provide him with a nurturing environment and a supportive therapist who will not tell him he has a "disease" and needs to be medicated for life. If his school has a bunch of bullies who are mean, change his school and find one that will make him feel supported and safe. Use a strength/interest/hobby that he has, to get involved in, so he can shine and feel special. Get him involved in volunteering on a project of his liking. Empowerment and love are the best healers! I will keep him in my prayers. Sweet Noah, G-d loves you very much! You are a precious precious soul. I recommend that the parent purchase the book "Your Drug Might Be Your Problem" and The Anti-Depressant Fact Book" by Dr. Peter Breggin. May G-d keep him safe!

rutimizrachi said...

Michelle: I hear your concern, and your love. Of course, we don't know the answer. We have to trust that this mother knows her son enough to know if he would be mortified or helped by her "interference." May it be that she has wisdom and clarity and Heavenly guidance. I don't remember where I learned it: but there is a concept that if we are truly trying to do the right thing, for the sake of Heaven, that our audience hears what we meant to say, even if the words are imperfect. May it be that her son only feels the love, and no embarrassment. And may his mother have reason to thank G-d for long, happy, healthy years, for His inspiration.

Rebecca: Thank you for your wisdom, and your recommendations. May they reach their target, and be truly helpful.