Have you seen it yet? 13 Reasons Why? I probably wouldn’t have except that I was recovering on the couch after minor surgery on a three day weekend, my teens sucked me in, and a binge watch session ensued.
I can’t un-see it now and in a way I’m glad.
(WARNING) I do not recommend this series for young teens! There is super graphic sexual situations that will make anyone cringe. My girls are almost 16 and 18 and even we skipped through some. The content matter is extremely adult and the language is graphic but the message is worth seeing with your high schooler. If you are looking for a movie on the topic of teen suicide, To Save A Life is a great (deep but clean) movie from 2009 that would be more appropriate for middle schoolers.
That being said, this series had to be made and must be watched.
Depending on your upbringing and high school experiences, you may or may not relate. I for one found it to be an extremely accurate portrayal of the grueling, emotional, roller coaster kids endure on a day to day basis in high school, and in fact it felt eerily similar to my own teen struggles.
13 Reasons Why tells the fictional story of Hannah Baker who has committed suicide leaving 13 audio tapes for 13 people who contributed to her heartache and eventual death ranging from a gun-shy crush and a selfish girlfriend to a violent attacker. The lessons learned during this 13 hour series are heart wrenching and eye opening. My girls and I talked and cried and shushed each other through each episode and we’re still talking about it this morning. I have said this to them before but felt prompted to say it again last night.
“There is nothing we can’t get through together. I am here for you and love you more than you will ever know. Please befriend the lonely and the broken and be kind to everyone. Be someone’s person.”
“NOTICE OTHERS! for the love of God, notice others.”
Because I can’t get this movie out of my head and I am still laid up on the couch. I give you:
My takeaways from 13 Reasons Why:
We all have different levels of emotional strength- Be sensitive
No one should feel lonely- Be caring
No one should feel invisible-Be inclusive
The world is full of bad people, but there are also lots of good ones- Keep trying- Be one of the good ones.
Parents: It’s not enough to be a good parent on a surface level. We need to make it our job to “know” our children inside-out. Study them and notice every little nuance and notice when something changes.
Most of the parents in 13 Reasons Why were well intending, but there are two things I noticed:
1.They were missing the emotional mark because they had their own issues going on. (which is very true to life.) However, there is a war going on for the souls of our children and we must go to battle for them whatever the cost. We cannot afford to miss the mark and we need to give them our undivided attention!
Sometimes it’s hard and awkward and selfless to ask the tough questions, to be the bad guy doling out the curfew and the consequences, giving your time and energy when there seems to be none left and ne’er a reward at hand. In fact they push us away and play their cards so close to their chest, roll their eyes and storm out, making it seemingly impossible to hit the mark, but we must keep aiming and trying. It’s not enough to say “How was your day?, while looking at your phone or stirring dinner or opening mail. It’s not enough to say “Bye, just be home by eleven.” Or “I’m sorry sweetie”.
It’s just not enough!
2. As Ronald Reagan used to say “Trust But Verify.” We need to know where our children are going and exactly who they will be with and then verify. Too much is at stake friends. If you are uncomfortable with the plans, SAY “NO!” Listen to your mother’s intuition! Be confident that you are the parent and they are the child. You call the shots. I felt like the parents in this movie were too permissive, letting their teens just “drive away, or “go on a walk”, just sayin….
Let’s model good friendship by being a good friend to our children. Continue to help them pick good healthy relationships, because I believe there are good ones out there! Keep at it and keep at it and keep at it!
Teach your kids to be kind and to think kind and to act kind to be sensitive to those around them who may be hurting and lonely. Teach them! Don’t let THEM be so self absorbed that they too miss the mark!
13 Reasons Why showed most of the characters having a case of poor judgement and poor foresight although some where flat-out evil and malicious. (again I would say an accurate snapshot of life) Towards the end, one character gets a revelation and says, “We could’ve done better, we need to do better.” To which I whole heartedly agree.
Let’s model that and implement it before it’s too late.
I would be remiss If I did not add that my life did not start to make sense until I encountered God through Jesus Christ and realized He knew me and loved me better than anyone else, and that fact alone was enough to cure my loneliness. BUT HE DOESN’T STOP THERE because God’s plan is for relationships and families and community. He gave Adam everything he could possibly want but still saw that he was alone and it was not good. God can change a lonely broken heart and bring friendships and comfort and joy. He puts the solitary in families and came to give us a massive abundant life! A thriving relationship with your creator is a game changer.
Having said that,
We have work to do.
All of us!
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.