You’re thirteen. You’re at the Super Bowl. And then… it happens. Your life becomes an instant meme.
Monday morning in home room at my school, more students were talking about Ryan McKenna than the Eagles’ victory. And we are a Philadelphia suburb.
Being the curious type, I went online and started looking up social media’s reactions to this teenager’s brush with JT’s stardom. I was horrified.
I’m not going to repeat any specific comments I read, but it makes me sick to think some people have no qualms criticizing Ryan’s actions during the halftime show. He was filming the concert. What happened was spontaneous. And it was live.
Why people feel the need to jump onto this bullying bandwagon of some boy is beyond me. These people need a lesson in empathy. How would THEY feel if they or their child were scrutinized the way Ryan has been judged? He didn’t do anything wrong. Why do they feel entitled to mock him as if he had no feelings?
Right now, he’s most likely still in shock. But eventually, he and his parent may start to take in all the cruel insinuations and false conclusions about the nature of this boy, and the content of his character.
All over a selfie.
If there’s anything good that can come of this sorry display, it can be a lesson in self esteem and resilience. This flash-in-the -pan moment of fame could either destroy or define his trajectory. If Ryan McKenna can rise above the taunts and hate, he’ll forever live an abundant life. And therein lies the blessing.
I have a #153Promise for you. When you have a moment with your children, talk to them about Ryan and the entire world’s reaction to his selfie. Then, relate it to your own family. How will your own kids respond when they are met with the negativity of others? If they are able to rise above and not give audience to the bullies, your children will remain confident and happy.
And to those who have felt the need to hope on that train of bullying, ask yourself, “what is going on inside my own heart that I feel the need to put someone else down and ruin their good fortune?”
And to Ryan’s family, I offer my most sincere support and kindness.