When Jillian Jensen took to the X Factor stage and admitted she'd been bullied through middle and high school, it could have turned into yet another "stay strong kids, you'll make it" message. Which is all well and good -- we can use as many of them as we can get. But when the teenager broke out into a performance so powerful Demi Lovato was moved to tears and even Simon Cowell was blown away, the dynamic shifted.
Jillian's raspy rocker rendition of Jessie J's "Who You Are" is about to become an anthem for bullying victims everywhere. But it's also an in-your-face wake-up call to the bullies of the world that makes me wonder if we've been approaching this whole bullying thing the wrong way. Check it out:
OK, did you catch what Demi Lovato said before Jillian got going? "We're both up here. The bullies that bullied us -- they're at home watching us on TV."
It's an important message for victims, yeah, but can we talk about the other side of it for a second? We tell our kids that they just have to be strong and they will prevail, but do we really spend time talking to our kids about what a waste of time bullying is? Do we ever sit our kids down and say, "Hey, you do realize that bullying won't get you anywhere in life, right?"
Jillian Jensen has spent years honing her craft, and it landed her on the X Factor stage, where she wowed all the judges. Meanwhile her bullies were doing what? Wasting their time making prank calls and telling her how much she sucks? What exactly do they have to show for all of that? Certainly not a spot on a major reality show or chance at a recording contract.
I hope to see Jillian Jensen go far because she's immensely talented, but also because she deserves it: she took the RIGHT path when too many kids are taking the wrong one.
What did you think of Jillian's story?
Image via TheXFactorUSA/YouTube