I started watching the new Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” after seeing an Instagram post by “Raising Boy and Girls” author Sissy Goff, a few weeks ago. I must admit I hadn’t heard of it and I was intrigued. The topics are intense and ring true of a lot of what high schoolers face. Bullying, Depression, Self-Harm, Date Rape, Drinking, Suicide; all topics that we have discussed and prayed about in our Moms of Teens group. In Sissy Goff’s blog post she points out some real pitfalls in thinking about suicide and blame and hopelessness. But she also reminds us that we know truth:
The light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5
I wanted to discuss the show with my daughter and warn her about the dangers. However, when I brought up the topic, she told me that she had read the book a few years ago and had already watched the show! So much for me warning her. It did open up some space for discussion topics that she would have normally thought didn’t apply to her therefore weren’t necessary to endure the awkwardness of discussing them.
I finished watching the series yesterday. Just like my daughter, I couldn’t watch more than 2 episodes at a time because of the intensity and sadness. Very much like the main character that can only listen to so much of the recorded 13 tapes at a time. And having the feeling that you don’t want to hear anymore but you are also looking for answers.
After I finished, I realized I was particularly disturbed by the rape scene. My daughter said she had to fast forward through it. It was a lot to process and brought up some feelings from bad situations I was in as a teenager. And certainly not blaming the victim but at the same time seeing how alcohol and the desire to be poplar or cool can sometimes drive people to make bad choices and put themselves in potentially dangerous situations. I also noticed the temptation that people have to avoid warning friends or giving advice to peers that we see going down dangerous paths. Not to say that the avoidance means that you are to blame for their choices but I believe God calls us to be brave enough to speak up. To speak the truth in love.
I am still processing and haven’t sorted it all out. Especially the topic of suicide. However, I found great hope in the list below that Sissy posted this week. It is written by a teenager to a friend: (and starts with my favorite verse)