My heart is heavy today. I heard about the shooting yesterday right before the kids came home from school. I didn’t allow myself to read anything about it at that time. I went down and picked them up from the bus stop since it was raining. We came home and had to do homework, eat and get moving. We went downtown last night to see Jeff Dunham. We laughed so much at the show. We had awesome seats. The boys loved it, even if some of the jokes went over their heads. I personally know that I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.
I didn’t want to think about the school shooting last night. I wanted to have a fun time with my three guys. I knew that the shooting happened in Florida. I knew it was a high school. I knew that lives were lost, families were devastated, safety was overturned. While we were waiting for the show Richard asked me if I’d heard about the shooting. The school was close to where he grew up. We’ve driven past this school.
My heart is broken. In looking into the details of this shooting, I learned that this was the 18th school shooting this year. WHAT??? What is going on? Why have we got to the point where this is common place? What are we going to do to change this pattern? Is this a result of social media influences? Is this a result of children being told they are perfect and can do no wrong? Is this a result of putting such high expectations on them? Is it the fact that children are being exposed to more realistic fictionalized violence at such an early age and continued through adolescences?
What can we as a society do to help these kids see that life is not fixed this way? That there are better ways to deal with problems? That school should be a place where you feel safe. What can we do to help them get the support they need to help them before they snap? What can we do to help teenagers feel more secure in themselves?
As a mom and as a teacher I hope and pray that we can figure this out. I don’t want to even imagine that one day my sons could go to school and not come home. That is a parent’s worst nightmare.
So what do I do? I talk to my sons. I encourage them to talk to me. To express their concerns and fears. To feel safe to tell us what they worry about and what they need to feel they are heard and understood. I teach them to keep their wits about them. To listen as much as they speak. To pay attention to what is going on around them. To see that they don’t live in a bubble. That the choices of others can affect them, but they control life and life choices. To see that others need to be seen and heard, but that they shouldn’t be making the choices for anyone but themselves.
Today I will take time to think. To reflect. To hope. To pray. I will hug my sons a bit harder. Listen to them with more attention. I will guide them to be the best they can be. I will do what I can, and then just hope to never be in the shoes of the mothers who lost their children yesterday.
When my sons come home we will joke, laugh, and move on with life. That’s what we do.