If there's one heartbreaking thing for moms, it's realizing that their kid is growing up to be unpopular. Not that popularity necessarily means anything in the long run (I somehow doubt Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates was the most popular kid in class), but parents know how heartbreaking it can be for their kid to be the last one picked on any team, the one no one invites to a birthday party, and the one who kids don't want to seat near on the bus. But one Michigan mom has decided that her kid's unpopularity in the classroom won't spoil his birthday. Because she's turned to Facebook to make his birthday a special one.
It all started when Jennifer, who didn't want to reveal her last name, asked her fifth grade son, Colin, who will turn 11, about giving him a birthday party. He said he didn't have any friends, so he didn't want one. Indeed, Jennifer had already thrown him a birthday party once, only to see only one kid show up. Sad!
So Jennifer took to social media and created the "Happy Birthday, Colin" Facebook page. On it, she wrote:
Because of Colin's disabilities, social skills are not easy for him, and he often acts out in school, and the other kids don't like him.
Her goal was to have strangers from all over the world wish him a happy birthday and then reveal it to him on his special day, March 9. She told Good Morning America:
His peers don’t understand him but every adult who meets him loves him so I thought I would go to a place where adults and my friends are, Facebook, and have them write nice messages to Colin so I could share them on his birthday.
Little does Colin know how popular he is already! His page has received over one million "likes" and tens of thousands of comments. In fact, the response has been so overwhelming that Jennifer's main concern has now been how to hide all of the good wishes from him until his birthday!
She has also had to purchase a P.O. Box to handle all of the birthday cards people wanted to send. Others have offered trips and gifts.
Social media is a double-edged sword that can be used for good and evil. We hear so much about the evil part -- kids who use it to bully other kids. Adults who use it to harass or target or brag about crimes.
But here is an example of the good it can do. Sure, on the one hand, maybe Jennifer is being a little overprotective. But it sounds like Colin is going to face an uphill battle his whole life. Why not show him not everyone is like the kids in his class? Why not show him that, as kids grow up, they often become more tolerant, more inclusive, and that, as an adult, he very well may find the acceptance he couldn't find as an child? This is one way of letting him know "It gets better."
On top of that, he will have one hell of a birthday. Go ahead and wish him a happy one!
Have you ever used social media to make your kid's birthday better?
Image via ABC