Ryan and Amber SuffernRyan Suffern did want a remote control car and helicopter for Christmas, but then the 8-year-old thought of something he wanted much more. In a moving letter to Santa, he asked for help to stop kids from bullying his twin sister Amber.
According to CNN, Amber is overweight and also struggles with attention-deficit disorder and some mental and mood disorders. She had complained before of not wanting to go to school and how kids teased her, but her mother, Karen Suffern, said she didn't know the full extent that it was affecting her until she asked her kids to write their Christmas lists.
Yes, it's a little early for Christmas letters, but the single mom wanted to start saving for what she was sure would be lists full of pricey electronics and toys. Instead she read something completely different.
Ryan's letter read in part:
Dear Santa ... I wanted a (remote control) car and helicopter, but I don't want that anymor. Kid at school are still picking on Amber and its not fair. I prayed that they will stop but god is bisy and needs your help.
It's so heartbreakingly sweet and sad all at the same time. It's amazing that a child this young would have such compassion for his sibling, and just so awful that he would have to use his Christmas wishes to stop something that no child should endure. Too many do, however.
The letter has since gone viral since Suffern posted it online, and there has been an outpouring of empathy, support, and people sharing their stories of bullying. The sad fact is that it happens all the time -- as many as one in four children are bullied, according to some studies.
It's up to us as parents to teach our children well and to show them how to treat others with respect and kindness. And because, sadly, not all parents will, we also have to do what we can to prepare our children to stand up to bullies. Santa can only do so much.
Have your children been bullied at school?
Image via Karen Suffern