Discussion with my kids on National School Walkout Day- Can they change the world

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In light of the recent school shootings and all the walkouts I thought I would talk to my children about an idea I had.

A little back ground:

At one time I was a 2nd and 3rd-grade teacher in a very poor and dangerous area of town.  My class was filled with

  • homeless students
  • students living with grandparents because their parents were in jail
  • students who had been held hostage in a shootout by their own father
  • students coming to school bruised, crying, hungry, lonely, scared, and a plethora of issues

These little guys came into my classroom every morning knowing they were coming to a safe haven.  At 7 and 8years old I knew this was a crucial age I knew I would have a huge impact on their lives. The way I conducted I classroom and the things I taught could very well make or break this child’s outlook on life.  Because of the situations, my students didn’t always make it to school most often the majority were far below the grade level standards. Some of my 3rd graders did not even know how to read. I chose to spend time focusing on character building even more so than book work. (I realize we can’t teach character in school but there wasn’t any other learning going on without it first) These little guys just needed hugs and security, lessons on dealing with the world they were dealt. As we focused on building their characters and loving each other and helping them adjust to the life they were dealt I saw as these kiddos aimed higher, tried harder, become kinder, more loving kids and they grew stronger knowing they could make positive changes in their life. Something that takes a lifetime for some of to learn they learned that they are not their circumstances and they have an ability to make a change.  They felt loved and secure and safe. My classroom became a nurturing place they all looked after each other and bonds grew. We all became more like family.  Needless to say, this job was draining. It was hard to let them go home at night. Eventually, I was so emotionally drained I had to quit teaching full time.

Now I currently sub at the local high school. Even though I am not around 2nd and 3rd graders I still see these students also need a sense of love. They grasp on to me if they sense I care an inkling about them. (I am just a sub! Often they beg me to be their teacher because they sense I care and respect them.)  They just want an adult they can trust and that genuinely cares for them, they want friends, family, acceptance and to feel like they are a somebody. I have observed those that don’t fit in and that are made fun of and are socially awkward and just have a feeling that they are missing that connection in the world and I am saddened. Nobody should feel alone! There are too many of us there should be enough love to go around.

In a world that is so full of contention, division and sadness I want to encourage my kids to make peace, to be positive and find those that might need them.

With all school gun shootings lately, I have been worried about more division, hatred and unkindness. Recently a few of our local high schools had the students walk out to show that they wanted change on the gun laws.   Now I don’t have a problem with people sticking up for things they believe but I do believe there is a time and a place and that is not during school hours. I also believe that it is an individual decision and if someone chooses one way over another they should not be bullied over it. My boys chose not to go they were bullied for it.

I think one thing we should focus on is that regardless of what one believes we all want the same thing.

Peace/ Love/ Happiness

 

The country is so divided. I don’t want my children to add to that.  In my experience watching how students already struggle I found this to eye-opening to me.   Take a peek at this short video clip. I showed it to my children to make them AWARE! This 100% goes on in the schools.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics

  • most criminal gun violence is committed by individuals who lack mental wellness such as coping skills, anger management, and other social-emotional skills
  • 4 out of 5 schools shooting at least one other person had some knowledge of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it.

 

So I ask could we actually stop school shootings, bullying, and some mental issues? If so how?

Would looking out for those around us, being kind, including and accepting of people help?

It doesn’t hurt to try.

It’s one thing we can do that doesn’t cost.

We can do it now!

We don’t have to miss school!

And it seems more positive!

I love the Sandy Hook Promise  mission statement it says,

Sandy Hook Promise educates and empowers parents, schools and community organizations on how to prevent gun violence before it happens by delivering and advocating for mental health and wellness early-intervention programs, gun safety storage practices and sensible state and federal policy.

 

My boys will not be walking out but we have discussed other ways they can express themselves. They will spend a few minutes in silence to respect those who were affected and pray. Then the number of fatalities of the last shooting they will search for that amount of people that wouldn’t otherwise be included in things, those that look like they are having a bad day, those that are lonely, those that are struggling and reach out. They will say Hi, be a friend, invite and care for those that otherwise don’t usually receive that. Kill them with kindness. Spread love and hope!

If my boys decide they want to do more then I will support them after school hours but as for during the school day they are going to make a difference with being kind.

Can you imagine if each of us did that? If each of us looked out for 17 others in the day that may need a boost and kindness. Think about how many people we could help feel safe and loved? Nobody would feel like they were a nobody. This might be naive but it certainly won’t hurt.

I am not looking for a debate, fight nor am I  discrediting others decisions. I am merely pitching an idea.

What are things done to help your children deal with the turmoil surrounding school shootings?

*Keep in mind I will delete lashing out comments. Please be civilized and respectful. If we are to teach our children peace in the world we must first be that peace and show them that things can be done with respect to everyone.

About The Author

Karie Babbitt

Karie Babbitt is a Lifestyle and Family Travel Writer. Mother of three boys and one girl. She has raised a family of six on a single income for over twenty-five years. She will share how she budgets so she can travel to show her kids all fifty states before they leave her home. Her parenting fails and successes, budgeting tips, food and living life in bliss.

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