A friend sent me a link to a map of the United States that depicted the areas who have suffered a school shooting since Newtown. There were 74 schools that had a firearm discharged on the campus of the school in 18 months. That same day, I read of yet another school shooting the day before. Every time I hear of a shooting, I hear of people talking about the gun laws. Personally, I don’t think guns should even exist, and am completely against guns on all levels. With that said, gun laws are not our problem. Our problem is that these children feel there is no other way. This is not about them getting their hands on the gun because if we were honest with ourselves, we would know that if someone wants something bad enough, they will find a way to get it. If someone wants to get a gun to shoot people, they will find a way to do it, whether it is a gun or a homemade bomb. It doesn’t matter what the weapon is, the problem is in their desire to do these things.
It is our job as adults, as parents, as teachers, as administrators, as community members, as church members, as members of the human race to help each other. If you see a child, a teenager, an adult who needs extra love and attention, then you should do your best to help them and to love them. It is not just the parents job to love their children, it is our job as citizens of humanity to love each other. We yearn for love from others, and not just from our parents. There are plenty of children who had unloving parents, but were still able to become productive and well-rounded adults because they were given the love from others around them, which compensated for the lack of love from their parents. Every time someone picks up a gun to use for murder, it is on all of us. We all have to take responsibility for our part. You may not have had any part in a particular situation, but think about how many times you were inconsiderate or rude to a stranger, a waitress, a store clerk. We can never know how much impact our words have on others. Because of this, we must strive to be kind, compassionate, understanding, and loving with each word we speak.
Not every thought needs to be spoken. Put yourself in their shoes before you commit to the condescending thought passing through your lips. Remind yourself that if you were that person who liked to dress a certain way, or act a certain way, or simply be a certain stereotype, you would not want to be judged. If you were that person, you would not want to be discriminated against, talked about, snickered at, publicly scorned or denied access to places. If you were that person, you would want to be accepted as you are, not as others think you should be. Treat others as if you understand because ultimately, you do understand a need to be yourself. Reach out to others instead of judging whether or not they deserve your help and support. Give back to others even if you have never needed help. Give back because we are all human beings. We are all brothers of the human race.
We must be aware of our family members. We must be aware of our children, our siblings, our cousins. We must be aware of those around us outside of our family. We must get help for those who need it. We must give love. We must strive to not be inclusive, to not be selfish, but to be aware.
We, as a nation, could continue to talk about stricter gun laws and keeping our guns away from kids, etc etc… OR we could begin to change our ways today. We can decide that today is the day that we will be observant of others and helpful to those in need. We can decide to make a change in our educational system to incorporate more than just lessons on math and english. We could open our minds to the teachings of Maria Montessori, who believed in a system that addresses the child as a whole instead of only focusing on the academics. The Montessori way of teaching cultivates strong children who love to learn and who grow into well-adjusted adults. Statistics speak volumes. Children from low-income areas beat the odds with a Montessori education, more graduate high school and go onto college than children from traditional public schools. Maria Montessori began her program in the early 1900s, teaching children of illiterate families and they flourished. Her teaching style spread throughout the world over the last 100 years, but still needs to be adopted by many more schools.
We must take responsibility for what we have harmed, and take the necessary steps to move forward. We have made changes to what we value to our own detriment. We have taken God out of our schools, but we have left him with our currency. When did our money become more important than our children? “In God We Trust” should be our motto everyday in every situation, instead of just being words written on our currency.