It’s homecoming season here in Texas, and with it comes big mums, big hair, and big drama. Everything is bigger in Texas, after all. Usually the drama revolves around which dress to wear, but unfortunately this year I stumbled upon a situation much more deserving of our attention.
I was perusing one of my local mom Facebook groups one day a few weeks ago, and I saw the most heartbreaking message from a fellow mama. Her son had made himself vulnerable and asked a classmate to the Homecoming dance, and she said yes. A few days later, he heard she was going with someone else. When he confronted her, she said she was only joking when she said she’d go with him. This young man’s mom didn’t post to Facebook to embarrass her son further or to criticize the parenting of the young lady that had pulled a cruel stunt on her son. Instead, she asked for advice. Ladies, what do I do? I don’t want to speak on his behalf and risk embarrassing him, but I also don’t want to go on as if nothing happened.
When Sandy (the original poster) deleted her request for advice to avoid embarrassing her son further, she had no idea she had captured the hearts of many protective, caring neighbors.
Barbara-Anne is 14 years old. When she was 2 years old, she began dancing. Early on, her parents knew she had God-given talents. She was incredibly focused, hyper mobile, and blessed with beautiful feet. When she was 4, she broke her tibia and was in a full leg cast. She begged to go to class 3 days a week and sat in the corner and watched class. (Seriously! Can you imagine another 4 year old doing this?!) She has always danced above her age group and been mature beyond her years.
In fourth grade, her parents decided they needed to start homeschooling to accommodate Barbara’s dance schedule. She was already dancing about 20 hours a week and wanted to train to compete in Americas largest ballet competition, Youth America Grand Prix. Homeschooling allowed the family to be more flexible in her training and also gave her some downtime.
She is currently in the Texas Ballet Theater School Ensemble. This year she is dancing three solos in Youth America Grand Prix and is featured in group pieces in the Ensemble. Barbara-Anne has an active Instagram page, Ballerina.Barbaraanne and is an ambassador for several dance companies and a well respected dance photographer. She dances year-round and has attended summer intensives at prestigious schools such as Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theater NYC, and Master Ballet Academy.
This summer, she hopes to either attend Boston Ballet or Houston Ballet. Her dream is to be a professional ballerina and her dream company is Boston Ballet.
The Second Facebook Post
2 days later, I saw another post in the same group. It was another mom saying she had read the original post but couldn’t find it in the archives. Her daughter was homeschooled to allow her to pursue dance, and she had missed out on so many of the traditional high schooler festivities, like Homecoming. Her daughter would love to go to the Homecoming dance with the original poster’s son – could someone help put her in touch with his mom?
Many of the women knew the original poster and tagged her in the comments to get her attention. Ultimately Sandy (Lincoln’s mom) and Jenny (Barbara-Anne’s mom) got in touch and made plans for their kids to meet. They formed a friendship and loved the idea of attending Homecoming together.
The incredible community support that allowed these two high schoolers to attend Homecoming brings tears to my eyes. Not only did the community bring these two together, but so many moms from the Facebook group reached out to offer help. Some offered their services (makeup, hair, eyebrows, garters, and photography), one purchased Barbara’s dress, and others still chipped in for Lincoln’s expenses, including dinner.
When you think the bullies in this world will win, when you think there’s little hope left, and you’re ready to give up, the goodness pours out of the woodwork.
The Harsh Truth About Bullying
The reality is more than 20% (1 in every 5) of students are bullied, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The effects of bullying are detrimental – insomnia, depression, anxiety, and affected school performance. Though I wish Lincoln’s story of bullying was an anomaly, I know it’s not. He’s not the only one experiencing bullying – I experienced it as a child, and so has my 7-year-old daughter. With social media and the prevalence of internet connections in our daily lives, cyberbullying is yet another opportunity for our children to be targeted.
Be aware that bullying happens, and do what you can to stick it to the bullies. Be a Lincoln or a Barbara-Anne. Spread hope and goodness instead of hate and evil.