It is tough to find appropriate words in the wake of the most recent shootings.
As humans, I hope we are all still feeling some emotion towards them. Fear, anger, sadness, frustration, confusion are some that may have come up. But in our culture, it seems like we’re learning to accept them as commonplace and are expected to simply carry on.
Duality, an instance of contrast.
It’s August, so as teachers, students, and families are preparing for the school year to start, some in Florida are having to digest what it means to now have armed gunmen on their campuses.
Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, frustration, and confusion may arise again. But as parents and teachers, they’re having to put on a face that models courage, trust, and that everything will be ok. Forced acceptance and having to carry on?
I saw a news segment this past weekend that was advertising bullet proof backpacks. As an adult, heartbreaking. As a student, I can only imagine what having to strap that on every day coupled with monthly active shooter drills is doing to their psyche. Being forced to act brave but really being afraid? Duality.
This is not a post intended to promote or to take a stance on gun violence, but simply an expression of thought based on timing.
At the end of the last school year we planned units and curriculum around our values of integrity, empathy, and adaptability. We knew then that with the upcoming elections, observing how deeply contemplative our students can get when they conduct Socratic discussions, and interests that arose last year around debating, that our students were ready to tackle tough issues this year.
This past weekend there were shootings around our country again. I also finished Brene’ Brown’s, “Dare to Lead,” as it was selected as one of the texts that our students and staff (and hopefully our families) will dive into this year. It promotes open and honest communication, how to move through adversity, how to tackle large issues so that we can do deep work, and how to honor our and each others’ feelings and perspectives in the process. Timely.
But as all three things came together this weekend, shootings, what it means to Dare to Lead, and our upcoming school year-I sit in a moment of duality.
Like I’m sure so many teachers, families, students, and humans around are country are feeling, I’m ecstatic to begin the week and the school year. But heartbroken and feeling stuck at the same time.
What I noticed from those around me is that the emotions may be the same. What I know from experience is that you can feel like you’re positively moving forward or impacting change if you allow yourself to feel the feelings, communicate them, and then take action.
Which is why I think I found refuge and the permission that I needed from this message to refocus on what we have planned for this year when I watched this.
“We must teach people from an early age about decision making and how to be a part of it.”
“In order to change this systematically. We need to teach people that political, national, and global affairs are as relevant to them as personal and family affairs.”
Paraphrased: Including kids in discussions from an early age allows them to exercise their agency and decision making from an early age. They will also learn how to help others engage.
I think we can all agree that what is is not working. But the good news is that we can all take action to help create positive progress.
Like any big challenge, it will take giving ourselves and each other space, grace, & maintaining a committed and positive mindset. But again, like anything, it’s possible. And I’m confident that our kids, families, and teachers are happy to do the work in whatever way feels comfortable for them individually.