It’s striking to me that over the past few weeks, there has been little conversation on youth ministry blogs about the suicide of Tyler Clementi—an eighteen year old student at Rutgers University who jumped off of the George Washington Bridge after his roommate used a live webcam to broadcast Clementi’s sexual encounter with another young man. Tyler was clearly deeply embarrassed and ashamed. His final facebook status said, “Jumping off the gw bridge. Sorry.”
Are we avoiding this conversation because of his sexuality? Because we are uncomfortable talking about suicide? Because we just don’t know what to say? Because we don’t know where to draw the line between public and private?
The rate of suicide among our young people seems to be increasing. It’s terribly scary.
We have to take the time to have conversations with our youth about sexuality, vulnerability, and how our actions have an impact on others. A rumor, practical joke, or intentional embarrassment can literally ruin the lives of those we love and care about.
Teenagers, or for that matter all of us, easily forget that we say and do really matters.
Over the next several weeks, Brian and I will offer some posts that suggest ways to have these conversations with our youth. We look forward to sharing the conversation with you and welcome ahead of time any comments or ideas that you may have.