WRITING SAVES: Why Kids Should Write

I’m not normally one who likes to latch onto things that are “trending” or “going viral”, but I watched a YouTube video yesterday that I can’t stop thinking about. I’m also not normally one to cite Perez Hilton of all people, but since it seems it was Perez who broke teen Jonah Mowry’s touching story best give due where it is deserved. Watch Jonah Mowry’s video on Perez’s site then come back. I’ll wait here for you.

OK? Something huh? This troubled kid’s story is not news really; sadly it’s all too common. And his choice to NOT take his own life is, thankfully, the same choice made everyday by troubled people. It’s the brave choice and many, maybe most people are brave. Even his decision to share his story online is not unique or original, nor is the video medium. YouTube is flooded with self confessional monologues both touching, like this one, and yes,  stupid ones too.

The thing I loved most about Jonah’s Mowry’s video is that he WROTE it.  He wrote these incredibly powerful words on little cards, making us read his pain and strength while we shared it. He’s obviously emotional in the video; chances are he wouldn’t have been able to speak what he needed to say. But he could write it, so that’s what he did. And what that writing did for him! I’m not just talking about the fame that’s coming his way, the inevitable guest spots on Ellen Dejeneres or being invited to Perez Hilton’s birthday. I’m talking about the fact that Jonah posted this video four months ago. It only started trending in the last couple of days but you can see from his recent follow up that he has been doing a lot better for some time. How much of that recovery was gained just from writing and sharing those words?

Teachers, parents, students, please INSIST on writing classes in middle and high school. Not just essay writing either – creative writing: stories, personal essays, poetry, songwriting, play and screen writing, video-poems, performance pieces, rap, diaries, letters, blogs, anything. We can teach children and teens that the pen is mightier than the razor blade.

Writing saves, my friends. It certainly saved me.

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