The Conversation We Should Have With Our Kids

11 Feb

I got a People magazine subscription for my birthday in December. I may not know exactly what’s going on in the Middle East or in Congress, but go ahead…ask me who’s transitioning into a woman and who named their baby Summer Rain.

Can you say guilty pleasure?

My magazine comes in the mail on Saturdays and you better believe I’m looking forward to taking a bubble bath by 8:30 once the kids are asleep.

People does a great job of covering stories beyond celebrity gossip. I really enjoy reading their human interest stories, especially when they throw the spotlight on everyday philanthropists. I hope one day I see Jackson’s buddy, fellow cancer survivor Eric Newman, and Roc Solid Foundation featured in there!

A couple of weeks ago, Why Did a Popular, Smart, Athletic College Freshman Kill Herself? ran in my first magazine subscription. It still hasn’t left the back of my mind.

Madison Holleran was a beautiful, smart, well-liked and highly talented female athlete attending her first year at University of Pennsylvania. She came from a great family with lots of support and love. In high school, she thrived. But once off at school and on her own, she became overwhelmed. It was difficult being the best and brightest in high school and transitioning into a college student. She was expected to keep up an intense sports schedule plus her grades. All while learning to be independent.

Over the fall semester, Madison became depressed. Her parents, who you can tell loved her immensely, worked with Madison to get her support. But by mid-January of her freshman year, she took her own life by jumping from the roof of a parking garage at college.

The thing that really got me: even as tough as things were for her, even in the mental mindset of suicide, she thoughtfully prepared gifts for each of her family members, leaving them books to cope and special words for each of them.

Reading articles like this makes me wish Madison and I had been friends; that somehow I could have stopped what happened that day. Whether you lose your child to cancer or an accident or prematurity or suicide, life changes forever.

I identify with Madison’s struggle; it was a struggle of mine. It’s humbling to go from being a shining star at home, in your comfort zone, to being just one of thousands of shining stars at college. It’s hard when you lose sight of your own light because everyone else is blinding you with theirs. Somehow, when you no longer believe in your own talents, you forget your place in the world. It’s really hard to come back from that. Self doubt is the stealer of self worth.

Plus, college can be just as much about losing your identity as it is discovering where you really belong, don’t you think? I think Glennon Melton at Momastey said it best: “People Who Need Help Sometimes Look a Lot Like People Who Don’t Need Help

I know when the day comes, I’m going to have this awkward, but important conversation with Jack and Abby. It’s our responsibility as parents, and as their security nets, that we make our kids feel they can tell us they’re in pain. I won’t always know when they’re faking. Sadness is not something you can feel by placing your hand on a warm forehead. I will tell them that everyone struggles, even Mommys and Daddys. But together, we’re not alone.

For more information on The Madison Holleran Foundation, visit the website here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *