It saddens me, that yet again I’ve had to talk to my sons about the crazy injustice of mass shootings. I’ve spoken about this multiple times here on my blog (here, here here and here).
Yesterday, the boys were listening to The Daily, a podcast they listen to all the time. On the podcast, they were talking about the latest two mass shootings. It saddens me how many times we have had to talk about this in their short lives. No person should grow up knowing/feeling that there is a good possibility that they could be part of a mass shooting. While we know logically that this possibility is slim, it exists.
That is the question that doesn’t have a good answer. Why do they do this? Why can’t we stop this? Why does this continue to happen? What can we do about it?
I often have people ask me about schools and what schools are doing. More importantly what can they do to help their child while at school.
Here are a few things my sons and I talk about whenever these conversations come up.
- Don’t live in fear
- Keep your head on a swivel and be aware of your environment
- Stay calm
One situation that I often tell parents to talk to their child about is what do you do if you are not in a classroom during a lock down. Often times parents get upset when they hear that teachers will not open the door of the classroom if they hear a child knock on it. But, I ask you this… how do you know it is a child? We are trained to protect our students. Hide the students. If we open the door, we aren’t hiding or protecting the students inside the room. Yes, it could be a child outside the door, or it could be the threat. So, what should a child do?
First, as soon as you hear there is a lock down, head to a classroom… the teachers are told to check the hallways while locking down and bring any child into the room with them.
Next, look around, where can you hide? Trash can? Closet? Stairwell? Go to rooms with multiple doors, they take longer to lock down. Can you get outside? If you can, do not leave campus, but get away and hide. Hide under a car, in a storage shed, in the bushes far away from the building.
What can we do for our children…. listen to them. Be honest. Let them know your concerns. Do not shelter them… truth from you is better than misinformation from a peer. Answer their questions.
We have many conversations about this sadness. We have talk about the fact that it is isolated even thought it feels like such a big issue. We do not place blame.
As a parent, it is hard. But, if we give into this fear, they win. If we change our daily lives, they win. If we place blame, we do not deal with the reality of life. So we hug our children a bit harder. We listen a bit more. We continue to be open and honest. We hope, we pray, and we go on with life…. then we win.