I have thought all day about how to write this post and still don’t know what to say. 5 Officers killed. Countless others injured. Fathers….newlyweds….rookies….experienced……no one was safe. Normally we hear stories like this and they seem far removed, things that don’t happen to us, but they’re much closer and they DO happen to us and to others like us. Violence knows no boundaries. And that’s where our present dilemma lies. How do we teach our kids that violence doesn’t solve problems; it only creates new ones. How do we make them understand that there are other ways to handle the things in our lives that eat at us? Is it even our job to teach those lessons and if so, how do we do it?
The answer is a resounding YES! We have to teach those lessons because we are in the perfect position to do so! We have students for 6-7 hours a day and we see them in all settings — at work and at play. We see them when they’re happy and we see them when they’re sad and stressed and frustrated and lonely and angry…sometimes, so so angry, and we could (if we so choose) use those situations to teach about coping, adapting, compromising, problem solving, and anger management.
But unfortunately, we don’t always use those “teaching moments” to our best advantage. We tell kids to ignore the bullies or to walk away. We tell the lonely ones to just ‘go find a new friend’ as if all they have to do is step up to a counter and order one. We react to the angry ones sometimes by getting angry ourselves, because it just becomes so tiresome to keep dealing over and over with such troubled kids. But in missing those moments, we are really missing the mark, aren’t we?
The sniper in Dallas yesterday, the shooter in Orlando in June, and countless others who have chosen violence as a means to an end were all students in someone’s class one day. They all no doubt had opportunities to make good choices as well as bad choices. They all no doubt had teachers who somehow might have been able to effect change in the way they handled the difficulties that proved one day to be too insurmountable for them. So, the question I have been asking myself all day is, how can we make a change, and where do we start?
Thought provoking question for which I have no easy answer, but you can be darn sure I will continue searching for one! We simply can’t afford to ignore this one….