By: Lisa Cavallaro – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Last week, our country suffered yet another tragic school shooting. One boy is dead. Another boy’s life is forever changed. Families and communities are traumatized. All this, because of a senseless situation that was entirely avoidable.
From the podium at services for victim Bobby McKeithen, Pastor Terrance Grooms of the Progressive Baptist Church spoke directly to the kids in attendance. He said:
“What will make our schools safer lies with the children themselves. You determine what you bring into the school system. I’m not talking guns and knives. I’m talking actions and attitude. Only you can bring the peace back into your class. So I want to challenge you on this day to hold yourselves to a higher moral standard. And when conflict does arise, choose another way.”
Pastor Grooms is completely on point. He could be no more accurate with his words, because every single one of us is responsible for our own behavior—and that includes kids.
If Bobby’s shooter, sixteen-year-old Jatwan Cuffie, knew how to handle the fear he felt related to a recent fight, he would have never thought to use a gun. Jatwan would never have thought to hurt anyone, and another sixteen-year-old boy would still be alive today.
If Jatwan understood his emotions and how to manage them, he’d still have his freedom. He would be in school this morning—instead of wondering from his prison cell what will be his fate. Jatwan would have felt whatever emotions he experienced from that weekend fight, and processed them in a way that helped him grow. Thoughts of hurting someone, yet alone ending a life, would never have crossed his mind.
If harmful events such as this one weren’t happening in kids’ lives, we wouldn’t need to look to schools to keep our kids safe. Kids—and teachers for that matter—would naturally be safe because no one would feel the desire to hurt anyone else.
Pastor Grooms’ challenge asking kids to hold themselves to a higher moral standard may be directed toward kids, but we adults need to lead the way.
I’m not making excuses for kids, but let’s face it—they learn less from what we say and more from what we do. It’s time for us adults to step it up!
We can talk all we want about the different forms of bullying. We can gather statistics on how many kids are being bullied. We can teach kids why and how they can report bullying. We can teach kids all about kindness, respect and inclusion. And none of it will work. We know this because we’ve been doing all of these and still, kids are being bullied and anxiety is on the rise.
Kids desperately need to learn how to regulate their emotions. They need to understand what they’re feeling. They need to recognize why they’re feeling it. Most importantly, they need a healthy strategy for managing how they feel, which is essentially the energy they bring to our world.
Helping kids control their emotions really isn’t difficult. But first, we adults need to stop barking up the wrong tree. We can’t expect kids to change their behavior just because we tell them to. They won’t do it. They can’t do it. Their anxiety is just too high.
Kids are screaming for emotional tools. We OWE them these tools.
More by Lisa:
Lisa Cavallaro, The Confidence Coach, is an LOA Coach with a solution-focused spin on bullying. She helps parents leverage Law of Attraction to raise kids who are self-confident and have a positive outlook toward peers, school and life. Lisa is the author of No More Drama and ADHD The Natural Way.
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