Ugly. Freak. Monster.

Imagine if those horrendous words were used to describe your child. Bullying is something many of us parents fear, and unfortunately, one Idaho father is in the thick of this nightmare as his son has become a victim in the most horrifying way. Bullying is a real issue, and as parents, we need to help put a stop to it.

Dan Bezzant wrote a Facebook post about his son, Jackson, and the disgusting bullying his son has faced. Jackson has Treacher Collins, a rare genetic condition that affects the bones and tissues of the face. In a post that has gone viral, Dan describes the heartbreaking reality his 8-year-old is living in.

“He says he has no friends and everyone hates him,” writes Dan. “Kids throw rocks at him and push him shouting these horrific words.”

Dan writes that his son has even talked about suicide. He’s an innocent 8-year-old child. Suicide should not even be in his vocabulary. Dan told local media that the school is doing all it can to prevent bullying and he doesn’t blame the faculty.

One look at this handsome young boy and it’s painful to imagine the hurt he has endured, especially at such a young age. The growing trend of bullying shows what is wrong with our society. Children learn from their parents and the adults who are in their lives. And right there is the problem. We’re supposed to be role models, but we often don’t realize the actions we take speak louder than words.

In this day and age where our lives are plastered on social media, it’s easy to get caught up in the cattiness of life. People can hide behind a computer and spew hatred, all while staying anonymous. And even though we may not realize it, our children pick up on our gossiping tendencies. They may hear a snide remark said under our breath, or hear us criticizing a celebrity’s appearance. But those comments add up, even shaping the way our children may think.

As we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, we are forgetting the basics. We need to teach our children kindness and compassion. We need to help our children understand that each person is different and unique in their own way. It’s who we are on the inside that truly matters, not what’s on the surface. It’s time to educate our children, and to do that, we need to practice what we preach.

As Dan’s Facebook post continues to spread, there’s a glimmer of hope, showing us there really are good people in this world. The thousands of messages of kindness far outweigh the bullies trying to tear young Jackson down. And the raw, emotional plea from his father is the perfect reminder of how a little compassion can make the world of a difference in someone’s life.

To send a message of hope to Jackson, his family set up a P.O. box. Send cards to: Jackson Bezzant, P.O. Box 1563, Idaho Falls, ID 83402.

Stacey Skrysak

Stacey Skrysak is a local television news anchor in Illinois, but her proudest role is becoming a mom after years of infertility. Stacey is mother to a 22-weeker surviving triplet and two angels. Even though two of her children were only alive for a short time, her triplets have touched thousands of people around the world. Through her blog, Stacey has become a voice for infertility, premature birth and child loss. These days, she sprinkles in the trials and tribulations of raising a daughter, who was once nicknamed “The Diva of the Nicu.”