Last week’s column about a girl who emotionally wounded me in fifth grade drew considerable mail from readers. A physician in Portland summed it up by saying, “Bobbie, we all had a Donna Jo when we were growing up!” I hope we all did not, but he’s probably right, as bullying has been around since time began.
Monday is my day to write this column. No one knows how this week will unfold, but the history books will tell the story. I find myself thinking of children, specifically my great-grandkids — Lennox who is now “Mr. Five” and his baby sister, Jade, whom I have yet to meet.
“Little pitchers have big ears,” my parents always said, and they often spoke to one another in whispers, especially about politics, war and a frightening disease called polio. Still, they managed to make my brothers and me feel special, that we were capable of doing anything or being anything when we grew up. I’m sure my granddaughter, Autumn, and her husband, Abe, are instilling confidence and good values in their little ones.
Knowing there was a column to be written for this worrisome week, I escaped last night into watching “Forest Gump” for about the fourth time. That movie, which is not only funny but inspirational, always manages to bring me to tears. In case you have forgotten, the movie opens with mom reminding her son that “Life is like a box of chocolates — you just never know what you’re gonna get!” We see Forest as a little boy with braces on his legs, and we see him being bullied by kids in his school. We watch him grow up, and later become best friends with Bubba, a black fellow soldier in Vietnam. Bubba dies in battle in spite of being carried through the jungle by Forest. If you haven’t seen “Forest Gump” in a long time (or not seen it at all), I highly recommend it. With our whole world upside down, especially in a place called Washington, D.C., we need all the inspiration we can get, which brings me to the following day brightener.
• • •
Each second we live is a new and unique moment, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and Paris is the capitol of France.
When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them, “Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.
“And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is like you, a marvel? You must work — we all must work to make the world worthy of its children.”
— Pablo Casals
• • •
My prayer is that very soon our weary world will right itself and become a better place for all of us — especially our children.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book, with all proceeds going to the Rotary International Foundation, is available at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]