This week in my home town I happened to look out the window as I watched police speed down the street. This wasn’t uncommon because often in the city there is a heavy presence of police but it was quite noteworthy considering the time of the day . I pressed on thinking that maybe it was a road block which again is not too uncommon in our city or maybe something worse a wreck . I put my children to bed and checked my email. I was stunned to learn that there was indeed another shooting in my city , my hometown. Later that night we found out she was and moments after that we learned her fate.
It was a big hurt for our community . I didn’t know her personally . I am positive that I went to school with her mother but I don’t know her mother personally. You don’t have to know a person personally to have compassion or to be deeply concerned. She was young only 17 years old , she had just finished high school but had plans to walk with her class in May. She had not yet experienced her first day of college, her graduation ceremony from high school or her first graduation from college. She will not experience a career, being married or having a child. She had not purchased her first house, bought her dream car or any of the other firsts that we all take for granted as adults.Her life was cut off too soon, born as a baby and died as a baby.
Several lives changed that night. The one who caused the accident and those who experienced the accident, the sweet 17 year old who lost her life and every family that was uniquely woven into the events of that night . There lives will never be the same . I personally know how this feels first hand I’ve had family members taken from us too soon due to violence. I have a friend whose family member was taken too son because of senseless violence . We want to be angry , we need someone to blame. When you are hurt its just natural to want to blame someone. We want to be mad , we want to fight and want a resolution.
There are so many questions that we ask…and so many questions that will never be answered.
Why did this happened?
Could this have been avoided?
What was something different that could have been done?
Whose fault was it ?
In my community when these events happen we immediately want to be reactive. We want to do something to let the community know that we do not stand for this? We want the community to know that we desire more for our children and their children and we will not stand for violence? We speak to the press…We make amazing statements. We rally around the community seeking answers …well for a little while at least. We talk about what can be done , we have balloon releases, crusades, we make tee shirts, we create barbecues in memory of the fallen but what are we really doing to change what is happening?
These situations remind me of when my children were little and fussy. Most of the time we reacted to them with a bottle , a nap or a paci to try to remedy the problem. When the fussiness continued we realized that we had to do more. As a mom I wasn’t that kind of mom that needed to trouble shoot what the problem was, I wasn’t quick to run to the doctors and I needed my sleep . So I learned to become proactive rather than reactive to my children. What do I mean ? I realized that if it causes a problem one time , it will cause a problem twice, three times or four. Rather than try to experience all the problems lets take a different approach. Gassy baby …new bottle..gas drops maybe. Sleepless baby add a routine and lavender ( which is still amazing ). Am I making this situation the same as a baby …no I am saying that we cannot say we are going to handle the problem after the problem is habitual. We have to handle things before they become habitual. How do we do that?
First we have to change the way we think about life. Though we are involved with social media and the world is much smaller than it was when I was in high school. You can still become a victim of your environment. I think that schools should take a more active approach of bridging the gap between school and real life. There are missed opportunities laying on tables because people are not aware that they can tap into them . Everyone is not going to play a sport, every girl is not going to participate in a pageant…why aren’t we creating things for our youth and offering them alternatives to life. As parents we have to be more proactive …the moment I see my child not responding in the manner that I think he/she needs to respond you deal with it on the spot. Make sure you keep open dialogues, who are your friends, where are you going. My eldest son is off at college, when I ask him to call me to let me know where he is ….guess what he can face time and its even easier to build accountability with him. That brings me to the next thing make your children accountable, if they get in trouble at school , let them and deal with them at home . When kids realize that they have to take responsibility for being wrong , it makes them accountable to life and it builds character. As a parent you should never be` afraid to tell your children , NO. And if we don’t like how the schools, jobs, places to hang out are treating our children…why can’t we build our own…