After a horrific school shooting like the one that occurred last week-- or after any mass killing, really-- the conversations begin.
There are those demanding stricter gun laws, there are those insisting that we do more to support our mentally ill, there are others still who are shouting their own beliefs from the top of the tallest rock they can find. I don’t necessarily disagree with any of these approaches, but I will say that I don’t think any single one of these things by itself is going to fix the problem of mass violence in our country.
There is something else, a “solution” of sorts that wasn’t as widely talked about until recently, although it seems to be picking up traction now. It’s a thought that is so simple that it’s almost laughable; I say almost, because nothing in this conversation is truly laughable, is it?
Here’s the thought:
The most effective way to put a stop to these senseless acts is to make sure that our own child isn’t the killer in the next.
We are so quick to point the fingers of change at the government. So quick to blame the flawed system, but we need to wake up and realize that WE ARE THE FLAWED SYSTEM.
We are the broken families. We are the families who no longer sit around the dinner table each night to share our day. We are the families who interact more with our peers through social media than we do face to face with the people whose very blood we share.
We are the parents who no longer discuss God or make him the center of our lives, or at the very least teach our children morals.
We are the parents who start way too many damn sentences with the words, “My kid would never…”
We place so much value on monetary worth and success by the standards of the world, that we forget that all we really should be focusing on is shaping our children into good people.
We need to talk to our kids more; and I mean really, truly talk to and listen to what they have to say.
If we are going to be a family who doesn’t own guns, we still need to make sure that our kids understand the power behind these weapons.
If we are going to be a family who does own guns, we need to teach our children how to use them responsibly. When not being used under supervision, we need to keep our guns locked safely away from our kids’ reach until they are adults in the eyes of the law.
We need to teach our kids the value of a human life. We need to value our own kids’ lives by caring for, loving, and nurturing them day in and day out.
We need to be home with our kids more and spend more time explicitly teaching them right from wrong rather than relying on video games, television, and social media to teach them. We need to take a good hard look at the media that surrounds us and ask why things with a former calibur of Rated R have suddenly and acceptably become PG.
We need to give our kids consequences when they mess up instead of letting their mistakes slide again and again and again.
We need to encourage our kids to do well without throwing participation trophies their way for everything they do; because guess what? There ARE winners and losers in almost every competition in life, and those that don’t learn that early on are the same ones who think the world is out to get them as they grow older.
We need to teach our kids that they aren’t entitled to anything, but that they most certainly can earn almost anything they desire if they’re willing to put in the work.
We need to be present enough to realize when something is “off” with our child and get them the help that they need, rather than looking the other way lest we jeopardize our kids’ feelings toward us.
We need to hand a firm, “no” to our kids when they need it.
We need to teach them to respect authority and realize that there is a whole gosh darn world out there that absolutely does NOT revolve around them.
We need to realize that this problem of violence in our country is a personal problem, not one to let everyone else figure out. We need to take on our responsibility in this matter, and we need to do it now.
We can no longer hope and pray without action.
Are you terrified (like we all are) that there will be another mass killing and wondering what will put an end to all of the madness?
You can start by doing everything in your power to ensure that your child isn’t the one pulling the trigger.