I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Sandy Lundy Resnick

Sandy Lundy Resnick: Kindness is cool

bullying, suicide, mom, grief, kindness
Sandy Lundy Resnick taught her three sons about bullying from an early age. She herself was cross-eyed when young, and severely bullied as a result. She knows how subtle bullying can be, but also how it tears at the fabric of one's self-esteem and shifts the way one approaches life.

The line she keeps coming back to when addressing her son Shane's death after attempting to take his own life at age 11 is eloquent in its simplicity: "There is literally only one thing I know, in life, 100% certain. If this can happen to my family, it can happen to anyone."

It’s up to us

As a means of honoring her son, Resnick started an organization called Shane's Imagine-Nation. She spends evenings, weekends, and every free moment she can organizing its growing panoply of programs, perfecting its web and social media presence, and dreaming up new ways of engaging kids as a means of building the self-worth we all need to survive modern-day bullying. She lets adults know that it's up to them - us - to provide the sorts of examples that can start to erode the toxic role of bullying in all our lives.

Get past stigmas

"When it happened, I had to figure out what I missed. Shane hadn't told anyone he'd been bullied. I immersed myself in studying bullying," she now says of the flurry of activity that's filled the single mom's life since her youngest's passing in late April of 2018. "I knew I'd never find all the answers, but I had to look anyway."

The specifics of Shane's bullying have a sad normalness about them. The kid was bubbly, had been diagnosed with ADD, and tended to gravitate towards women because he'd learned he could trust them more. He had a huge love for Broadway musicals and singing. Phantom of the Opera was his all-time favorite.

"You've got to get past stigmas," his mom says now. "It's no different than my liking football and hockey."

Resnick's website, ShanesImagineNation.org, is full of testimonials, examples of speaking engagements she's done in schools, and a growing curriculum she has been putting together from her readings and years working in schools. She's keen about emphasizing that much more is needed, as a parent, than simply loving one's child. They have to be taught to love themselves, no matter the challenges they may see in their social lives, or in the adult world beyond them.

Resnick's own background has seen big moves, but a constant emphasis on self-empowerment from her early days battling with bullying aspects that surrounded her. She speaks of being attracted to acting and modeling, partly as a means of self-validation against negative things she was told about how she looked and the type of person she was. 

Bullying impacts the entire family

Resnick grew up in Westchester, married, moved to the nation's capital and then California for her husband's work. She then had three boys - Ryan, Griffin and Shane. She and her sons moved back to the Hudson Valley when she and her husband separated, having realized how important it was to have family close.

There's litigation involving Shane's bullying and his death, that keeps her close-mouthed about some specifics involving his schooling. She hurts as much for her surviving boys as the one they lost.

"They each lost their childhoods the moment Shane died."

Kindness is cool

"We have to change the antiquated mindsets we carry within us about what bullying is," she says. "It's not something you grow through. Bullying behavior is learned. We rely too much on our schools to spot and solve it. Unless you understand that bullying is abuse, nothing is going to change."

Resnick is starting to write a book she can share with parents and kids. She's created a Kindness Quilt, with each patch representing an act of kindness tying to her underlying theme that the answer to the presence of bullying cannot be shame, but an expansion of the idea that kindness is cool.

"I have to channel my energy," she says. "I feel an obligation and I constantly feel guilty that I've not done enough for Shane."

For more about Sandy Lundy Resnick's crusade to honor her son Shane's life and help shift the tides of bullying that took him from her, visit her growing foundation's website at ShanesImagineNation.org or check out her impassioned letter to those that may have been involved in Shane's bullying on HVParent.com.

Paul Smart is a father who writes for a variety of publications in the Hudson Valley.