Yesterday, October 22, 2013, a teacher, a former Marine, a good guy, was shot and killed and two students wounded by a 13 year old student at Agnes Risley Elementary School, Sparks Nevada.
This story hit home on two fronts. First, my son is 13 years old. Two, I’m a former Marine. Both of which are dear to my heart.
When I read the news I had mixed emotions as to who to blame: the 13 year old gunman, the school, the teacher, the students who bullied, the parents, society?
Who failed this 13 year old?
Only because I hold myself to the highest of standards when it comes to the care and nurturing of my son, that I am here now blaming the parents for this senseless act by the 13 year old boy.
Where did the nurturing and involvement with and for their son stop for these parents?
I remember and often like to think back on the early days, after my son was born. My newborn needed me for everything. He needed to be cleaned, fed, loved, held and taught to read, talk, walk and hundreds of other skills…parents you know.
We were 24/7 with my son. There was nothing we didn’t do for him for his own good.
As he got older, as he matured and gained some independence, our care, naturally wasn’t 24/7, at least not in the same way as when he was an infant.
Here’s what happens though…
Come years 9, 10, 11, by now the child can eat on his own, read and learn, do homework, use a PC, use video games, run, walk, do chores, keep up on his hygiene, experience his own emotions, knows good from bad, right from wrong, dream, hope, use apps, use smart phones, have a 1000 song play list, build things and hundreds of other awesome things, all on his own. Here in lies the problem…
We’re taught that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, attend to when sick, give when asked, resolve issues when something bad already happened, no news is good news…so on and so forth.
Is it possible that we applying these not-so-good attitudes to our children? I mean, because they are getting older and more independent we feel like maybe they don’t need us as much and selfishly make more time for ourselves, assuming, expecting, that “they’ll be ok,” and that, “they’ll turn out just fine?”
I’m all for allowing for independence to naturally grow, but involvement never stops, ever!
Your child is not broken, yeah don’t fix it, add to it, teach and foster physical activities that help shape a good attitude on fitness and health.
Your child is not always sick, but keep teaching good hygiene habits and make regular checkups a priority. Teach them about making healthy foods choices. Ask about how they feel about the body’s development and how they are feeling with their body. Explain to them about how their body works and will work. They need to know.
It’s not quiet and peaceful and then the volcano erupts with no tale tale signs. Same with children. Get in there and make sure that there is no negative emotions or attitudes brewing within your child. Share with them your stories on your life and how you resolved issues when you were their age. Teach them practical ways to manage stress. Teach them to have a positive outlook and mind set on life.
No news means know news. Ask your child about everything. Start early so they know to expect questions from you. Asking questions of your child allows them to think and rethink the world around them. It gives them a voice to their issues, feelings and emotions.
Your child will always need you. Yes, let them “grow up” but please, grow with them.
May the fallen teacher rest in peace and for the two wounded children, we pray for a speedy recovery. And to all affected, we send out positive healing thoughts.