We all know bullying is a problem in almost every school in our nation.
While measures can be taken to curtail the act, it's unfortunately a certainty that it happens in some way, shape or form.
And it's unfortunate how it can lead to tragedy as it has with suicides recently in the state. Bullies are like cockroaches and taxes as they have stood the test of time.
Back in my day, bullies were just at school and the playground. When I went home I would be free from them and free to enjoy "Scooby-Doo." In today's world of social networking and texting, bullying can occur around-the-clock. There sometimes can be no escape from it.
I want to tell those who are being bullied that they should say something to someone.
I also want to talk to those who think they feel out of place and assure them that a label someone calls you in high school will not be with you after graduation. There is so much more freedom after you graduate from high school.
Freedom to study what you want. Freedom to be with people you choose to be. And freedom to not associate with those who could bring you down.
I've written in this column space before about the poignant song by country star Brad Paisley titled "Letter to Me."
The song is sung from an adult perspective to his younger teenage self. It tells the teenager not to worry about things that may seem monumental at the time as things will work out fine. In the grand scheme of life, these things don't matter.
I remember being far behind on a huge English project in high school and I nearly broke down worrying about it. Well, that project got done and I made it through the class. Although some of our loyal readers think I probably should have taken English class more seriously - you know who you are.
I know it's tough for you teenagers to look beyond a Friday night. But if you do, there is so much more life and so much more to enjoy.
Will you get married and have children? Will you stay single and free and travel the world? Will you accomplish great things in business? Will you find a calling to help others?
Will you be a loving family member who helps bring people together? Will you make new friends that will bring you a lifetime of laughter and support?
All of these options are on the table for you and can bring great joy with a wide open future.
That's something a bully should never be able take away from you.
Reporter Andrew Potter is a Tuesday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org