Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow. ~Mary Anne Radmacher
His name is Jonah, and he has just been introduced to thousands. The now 14-year-old uploaded this video before starting 8th grade, and its simple message is this: he has been the target of bullying since the 1st grade, has cut himself and considered suicide — but he has since decided that his bullies will not get the best of him.
It’s difficult to know how to react to this video. Of course his brave declaration feels like something to celebrate — indeed, most comments are messages of support, empathy and admiration — but I can’t help but worry about how he is right now. I’m sure I’m not the only one reminded of the tragic Jamie Hubley story, and others like it.
Jonah’s video was uploaded in August, but it started to go viral in the first days of December. When I first saw it about an hour ago, it had around 11,000 likes. In the time it took me to write this post, that number climbed to over 14,000. (Oddly, the hit counter seems to be stuck at 908.)
Jonah mentions in the video that he only has one good friend at his school. A little internet sleuthing produced the following video and I, for one, was very happy to see him and his pal doing the things 14-year-olds should be doing.
I’ll conclude by saying that most of the 12,914 comments beneath the cue card video praise Jonah for his bravery, creativity and resilience. Many, many say that they know how badly it hurts to be bullied, and that they, too, would like to be Jonah’s friend.
It is my sincere hope that in the world beyond YouTube, as in the comment thread, the hateful voices are drowned out by the loving ones.
Kudos, Jonas. Please take good care.
And — to my incredible relief — here is a brand new thank you video, complete with seasonal decorations, that shows Jonah looking healthy and happy after a full semester of 8th grade.
Some people are saying Jonah’s brave act has changed their life. Here’s the first response video I’ve seen, and I doubt it will be the last.
Update, Dec. 6: A friend told me the link to Jonah’s thank you video isn’t working, so here’s the note he posted on Facebook to explain the backstory behind the viral video and express his gratitude for all the support: