These past few days my mind has been occupied by the mass shooting in Parkland, FL. Being that I live in Miami, it’s not difficult to come across someone that has been directly affected by this devastating event. I really wanted to write about this.
I can’t help but think what has our world come to? How can someone inflict so much pain? Where is our world headed to if we continue like this? What is the cause for the rise in mass shootings at schools? What can we do as a society to prevent this from happening again? What could I personally do?
This is a complex issue and no one action will solve it. Stricter gun laws is definitely one piece of the puzzle. However we must all take responsibility and do our part with ourselves, our own children and families.
When I think of this young man who shot so many classmates, I can feel compassion for a soul that has not been surrounded by love and acceptance. Please don’t misread. I am not condoning his behavior and there are no guarantees that surrounding a child with love and acceptance will prevent violent behavior but I can’t imagine that this young man was surrounded by loving parents, accepting friends, caring teachers, solid grounded examples of people in his life and then decides to shoot up a school.
As parents and caretakers our responsibility is to heal ourselves so that we can help heal our children and have more to offer them. Our responsibility is to make time for our children. We have to stay connected and keep them connected to the family and to their community. We must teach children kindness and compassion for others from a young age and lead by example. Say hello to your neighbors, bring that soup when someone is sick!
The world is very different for our children from when we grew up. As a young child I spent my time outside with the neighborhood kids. Nowadays children are more isolated because of the unsafe nature of letting them outdoors unsupervised and the increased use of electronics that not only desensitize children to violence but also keep them isolated and disconnected from others.
As care takers of children we must take the time to know all our children and their families. Know which ones have a difficult family life and how they spend their time outside of school. This is not about spying. It’s about truly caring and communicating. Our schools need to have programs for children to help them connect to each other. Communities need to create activities to give back as a neighborhood. The sense of belonging is a powerful healer.
I don’t have all the answers on such a complex issue but what I do know for sure is that love heals and when one heals we all heal. It’s time to connect and care!