Check Yourself

Something happened at my former school district.

It was a threat of a school shooting and it shut the entire district down.

The threat was credible and the student has been placed in jail. It is a small town and many people talk to each other at times like this. Many parents took to social media to express their shock and disbelief. They thought it couldn’t happen there.

Looking back at childhood, what were the things that made you so mad that you thought about suicide to get other people’s attention? Did you ever ask yourself what others would do if you weren’t around anymore?

It seems like school shootings are about kids feeling up against it or that they don’t belong; wanting to have retribution against the “bullies” and having notoriety this way. It is splashed all over the news and pictures of the shooter are ingrained in everyone’s brain.

Let’s be honest.

Bullies are winning right now.

We have people who lead our country, the adults in the football crowd, and probably the worst bullying tool of all: Social Media.

These are the today’s models shaping all kids not just the broken ones.

They see and read adults and peers making unbelievable jabs at each other and they try to lay low so as not to be the target. The level of intimidation has been raised 1000%. It has to stop.

This is NOT a kid problem. This is a SOCIETAL problem.

It will take each of us, yes, every one of us, to examine our behavior and do a self-check. Have we crossed the line on a facebook feed? Do we attack and name call and push our beliefs on others that don’t feel the same way, and then call them names when they do not?

The presidential campaign featured adult name callers. These were adults slinging mud on PRIME TIME TV trying to become leader of the FREE WORLD. Some candidates belittled others in order to break down their confidences. There were tweets, barbs, slogans, and even clothing made to deride each other. This is a shame. The good guy didn’t finish last because there weren’t really any good guys.

This is what our kids are seeing.

Here are a few things I see as I observe students,

It isn’t just the lonely that feel left out.

What about the time your kid passed out invitations to a birthday party at school and some kids were left out? I had to stop this in my classroom because many wanted to hand their birthday party invitations at school The problem is when you don't include everyone because you don't want to spend money on stamps, you have created a much larger problem than just losing a few bucks.

-Valentine's day in Elementary School is most always a sweet day, however I remember one in particular when the kids were ridiculing the giver of the “Dollar Store” Valentines. Or the cupcakes someone brought that didn’t look like a scene from a Disney movie? Kids are tough and tend to not have aplomb or tact.

· Girls can be as harsh as boys, perhaps worse. They will be the ones to put derisive stuff on snapchat and Instagram. Check their phones. Have a serious talk about empathy and what it feels on the other side.

· Promoting “Be Kind or Nice” movements is something schools are doing, but really? Don’t we know what kindness feels like? It is often too late to wait for teachers to do it for you.. Schools teaching what kindness is has always been a part of school, but shouldn't it be built upon a platform already established at home. If not, parents we are dropping the ball. YOU need to have the conversation AT HOME about empathy and kindness.

-Mean people make more mean people. Country club kids come from Country Club parents….Angry kids from Angry parents. It is a pattern.

- Parents and adults who use facebook to lash out on things they may disagree with and have no control over, I urge you to practice the 5 second Rule. If it is not kind or won’t make people feel good, REFRAIN FROM POSTING.

It is like an addiction with some people. Don’t live to give the ZINGER.

You are shaping the future. It may not be too late but you have GOT TO DEAL with your own feelings off social media.

-The most newsy thing I have seen this morning has to do with school shooting, bombings, and manipulation of things that will have a mass impact.

This kind of news is depressing and I urge the MEDIA to not overly report these things. It has become almost commonplace and soon, we will become numb to this as well.

How do you stop a train wreck?

How do you stop the boulder rolling down the hill at top speed?

It takes many people.

No, it takes all hands.

Let’s work starting today to put the fragments back together.

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