Friday, December 17, 2010


I believe that all of us keep pieces of ourselves locked away from the rest of the world.  It is a simple way to protect what we fear will be ridiculed.  But why do we have to live with this fear?  Where does it come from?  My belief is that as kids grow up and work their way through the years of school, they begin to build a wall to protect themselves from being different.  To protect themselves from being bullied.

I just finished reading a new book from Karen Kingsbury called Unlocked.  This wonderful story focuses on the struggles faced by a family who have an 18-year-old son suffering from autism.  In the story, "Holden Harris,..., is locked in a prison of autism where he's been since he was a happy, boisterous three-year-old. At school he is bullied by kids who do not understand that despite his quiet ways and quirky behaviors, Holden is very happy and socially normal on the inside, where he lives in a private world all his own".  This novel touches on very important issues and reminded me of how important it is to teach our children that it is okay to be different.  Through the novel, I struggled to read about the bullying that took place in the high school.  It was even harder when you saw the teachers ignoring the issues.  The main main female character of the book, Ella Reynolds, struggled with ignoring the bullying of Holden and other students or standing up for them and being mocked herself.   It made me sit back and think, were there times that I ignored the issue and should have stood up for someone?

Later in the book, one of the students who was continually made fun of and bullied by the jocks, committed suicide.  This completely broke my heart that this child didn't see any other way of coping with the madness he lived through daily.  It was also disheartening to see that the mother didn't even recognize the signs of depression in her son because she was too busy trying to make ends meet.  I know we all have days that we just wish we could be alone and we don't even feel like talking to our family, but I pray that we can always remember to take time out for our children to remind them that they are loved and that they can share their fears and troubles with us.   In, Unlocked, Ella discovers that it is okay to stand up for others and the change in her are seen throughout the school and community.  "The greatest miracle is the change in Holden, himself, and everyone is stunned by the transformation they witness. Ultimately, the community comes to understand that many people walk around in a personal prison and that only by love and faith can the doors become unlocked, the way they dramatically do for Holden Harris".

I would encourage everyone of you to grab a copy of this book and then share it with a friend. It is a story that everyone needs to hear.  After finishing it, I'm sure you will be hooked on Karen Kingsbury.  She has an extraordinary gift and her writings are always inspirational and life-changing.  I've read them all and not a single one disappoints.  Happy reading!

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