Use Logan Paul's suicide forest scandal as a lesson on awareness and forgiveness

Logan Paul in his suicide awareness video

Use Logan Paul's suicide forest scandal as a lesson on awareness and forgiveness

Parenting Tips and Advice

Use Logan Paul's suicide forest scandal as a lesson on awareness and forgiveness

Logan Paul released his first YouTube video since his apology three weeks ago for filming the dead body of a suicide victim hanging from a tree in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest.

The video, titled “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow,” documents his three-week break from YouTube as he travels the U.S. to speak to suicide survivors and awareness advocates.

He took the hiatus to “reflect,” he said, and based on the video, it appears he did.

A quick review of Logan Paul and the scandal:

This file photo taken on May 21, 2017 shows actor Logan Paul arriving at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Credit: Mark Ralston/ AFP/Getty Image

  • He and his brother, Jake, are YouTube celebrities from Ohio who moved to LA to make daily videos for a living. They are also founders of an apparel brand called “Maverick.”
  • Logan travels to Japan with friends to film funny prank videos, including one where he dresses as Pikachú and throws stuffed Poké balls at bystanders and moving cars. Maybe funny for a tween, keep in mind: he’s 22. THEN: 
  • He and friends film themselves laughing and joking at a deceased victim of suicide who was hanging from a tree in the Aokigahara forest, a well-known suicide destination.
  • The public, including other famous YouTubers, fans and mainstream media, scorn him for his insensitivity. Some fans defend him.
  • He apologizes on Twitter, then releases a video apology on his channel, where he says sorry to the victim, the victim’s family and all who’ve been touched by suicide. He tells fans not to defend him.

His suicide awareness short film

Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” is an excellently produced, seven-minute documentary-style short video, unlike most of his vlogs that are quickly compiled clips of casual handheld footage.

His conversations with advocates and survivors are educational, devastating and inspiring, as the viewer gets a vulnerable look into the story of one survivor who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge at 19 but survived. 

Paul tells an awareness advocate how naive he was about the illness and how he wants to “further understand the complexity of suicide.”

“I know I’ve made mistakes. I know I’ve let people down,” he says in the beginning. “But what happens when you’re given an opportunity to help make a difference in the world?”

We must teach kids the value of redemption,  awareness and forgiveness

Whether you love or hate Logan Paul, we have an opportunity to turn this scandal into a valuable lesson for today’s children.

Here are some thing I’ve learned:

Lesson 1: REDEMPTION

Logan Paul speaks to a suicide activist.

Screen shot taken Jan. 25, 2018, of “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow,” from YouTube.

Logan Paul took admirable steps after his mistake to right his wrongs. You may be suspicious of his motives, but nevertheless, he did:

  • acknowledge his wrongdoings
  • travel across the country to listen to others
  • educate himself
  • express empathy

He also pledged a $1 million donation to various suicide prevention organizations. Money DOES NOT make up for his mistake. But it’s good to instill in children that charitable giving is a great gift when you have the means.

lesson 2: AWARENESS

Logan Paul in his suicide awareness video

Screen shot taken Jan. 25, 2018 of “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow,” from YouTube.

As privileged humans on this earth, we all have a moral responsibility to help others and prevent future harm where we can.

Apologizing and taking steps to make amends is powerful. But when you’re in a position of power or high influence, like Paul, it is your duty to do good.

If you can use your influence to spread awareness on an important issue, as Paul is with this video, you must do it.

Surely some of Paul’s fans have struggled with mental health. Surely some of them have friends or family who’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts. Perhaps his video will help those people manage such adversity.

lesson 3: Forgiveness

Credit: Giphy

Let’s face it. Logan Paul is no angel. He was stupid. Naive. Insensitive. Maybe even heartless.

But it’s easy to hate. It’s harder to love. 

It’s harder to forgive our neighbors and look for the good in them when they’ve hurt us so badly. But imagine a world without forgiveness.

If we want to raise strong, loving children, we must teach them how to move on in a healthy manner.

All kids will endure trials and tribulations that will shake them to their cores. They will make mistakes, get their hearts broken and say and do things they don’t mean.

At the end of those trials, they can choose to live in regret or suffering, harboring grudges and bitterness, or they can choose to learn and forgive.

Accepting someone’s apology is not weak; it is strong. And if we want to be forgiven when we make mistakes, we must afford others that same luxury.

Forgiveness is a beautiful gift. Use it!

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