Having been a part of a faculty in a high school right after Columbine, I witnessed many lock downs and an armed guard walking our halls. I spent more time in the parking lot than in my office. I was working as a Learning Disabilities Specialist at the time and counseled many teenagers having the fears and stressors that many children are experiencing today. In almost 20 years, nothing has changed and it has only gotten worse. Our armed guard and dog at the time was just a reminder that our methods were archaic and not working. Guns in schools are not the deterrent nor does it reduce fear and stress among the students.
At the time, we had kind voices happening on our announcements for about 10 days. Then all went back to normal. Bullying began all over again and nothing was learned. Children’s fears and stress were not addressed in classrooms nor were there lessons opening discussions and communication. The stress and the fears got buried and who knows what these young adults now are feeling.
The answer lies in change. Not an easy thing to do these days with a bully for a president. He models all the behaviors that cause what is happening. We are seeing some voices being heard by the teenagers themselves and I support them 100%. But what do we do about the day to day feelings that your children are experiencing as a result of the chaos.
Having had many challenges in my life, I needed to learn a simple way to manage emotions that involved fear and stress. I now also teach this to children as young as 21/2. Take a deep breath in and start saying an affirmation or “I” statement and immediately the brain responds with fear and stress reducing so that breathing can return to normal. Then thoughts can be redirected to a positive memory or thought and the fear and anxiety begin to leave. Positive action can resume and if need be…repeat until one feels better. It is so easy and it works. It is a skill that can be used wherever and whenever needed and is truly a life skill and how we become EQ Smart.
Practice, remind each other and have your children share it with their friends. Mindfulness is a technique that serves us always and helps us to stay present. The talk of guns in schools will continue but the real change needs to be an internal one where we all learn from a very young age how to be compassionate and have a generosity of heart. Have your children watch programs that share what wonderful things people are doing for their communities and friends. Every day share a story that happened in your lives that reinforces kindness, empathy and a willingness to put your needs aside to help another. When this becomes the dialogue in homes and schools, the talk of guns in schools will no longer be necessary. It will have been replaced by a higher form of human interaction and consciousness.