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In this blog post, you will find 14 Easy Ways You Can Positively React When You Hear About Mass Shootings.
I’m going to be real with you. This is one of the hardest things I have written. My heart bleeds for the families who have lost loved ones. This is not a political post, and below you will see why. It can be hard to be positive when you are mourning with a city where so many innocent lives have been lost.
These are horribly emotional events, and this is not advice for the victims of the tragedy. This is for the spectators. You may agree and you may disagree with this, but like everything – there is a positive way to respond, and a negative way.
As we share the heartbreak of Parkland, Florida, we will have to be realistic and realize that sadly, this is our world now. I remember the horror of Columbine, but things continue to happen, and everybody is so quick to blame things.
Let’s try changing it, and we do have the ability to change it.
These are hard things, but listen to my reasoning before you jump all over me.
Here are 14 Ways We Can.
1. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Shutting Up
This is the harshest by far, but it’s also the easiest. There’s no nice way to say it, so let me be the bad guy.
Nobody cares what your political view point is in the moment the news breaks. Nobody cares who you blame or what you blame during a moment of horror. And quite frankly, if you’re so eager to blame someone or something for a disaster while horror is unfolding – that should tell you right there where your priorities are…
And it ain’t with the people who just lost their lives.
Instead, take it in. Mourn with those people, and understand you will get angry at the senselessness of it all. It’s ok, because we, as humans, are mostly good, and we want to help.
We see these shootings and think, “what if this were my child?”
But when we see these and start blaming a group or people in front of your children or other people, even if they do agree with you, you’re spreading around the negative. And, sadly, negativity is what got us here.
Negativity, to the extreme is pure evil.
You can react with sadness and mourning, but to spread anger can be dangerous if left unchecked.
And, if you think about it – the same feelings you have toward what you blame – be it lawmakers, guns, mental illness, whatever – is the exact same feeling that shooter felt toward those kids or that school.
Do not exacerbate it. Do something to calm yourself down.
2. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Writing A List Of Fears You Have
Do you blame someone or something? Hey, I get it. We share similar gut instincts.
But, we can’t do anything about it until we can get a plan into place. You know how I told you it was OK to be angry? It totally is. But, write a list of things you’re angry about in this situation.
We agonize, and are angry for the parents and families who have lost loved ones, but what is it that you are most upset about in this situation?
Are you angry about the gun laws? What about the mental illness aspect? Are you angry that the FBI dropped the ball on this?
Write it down. And you’ll start seeing a theme to what you are really angry about.
3. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Taking The News With A Grain of Salt
When you watch the news, I want you to realize one thing. They don’t care about the kids that just got hurt. As human beings, individually, they probably do, but journalism is a business. They don’t care about those kids. The only reason they are there is to make money.
They make money by getting you to watch the TV and get angry. The national journalists are actually coached to make you feel angry, or anxious by using their inflections.
They also do push an agenda. I don’t care what anybody tells you, they are pushing some kind of agenda. They are a business, and they are run by somebody, and that person has some kind of political views.
Read every statistic with a grain of salt. Use logic. Think it through. Don’t just listen to someone reporting a statistic ask yourself things like: compared to who? Compared to what?
Remember, the news is trying to influence you to be angry and take action (and you should), but they are profiting from your emotions.
That being said, the news does hold a viable and important role in our society.
4. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Stepping Away From Social Media
This is another brutally honest and borderline rude thing here. You accomplish absolutely nothing when you post on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere on Social Media. This is all you’re doing, wasting time to post your opinion on Facebook.
It’s not productive. It’s actually a waste of time. Further, you’re not saying anything nobody else has ever said. We’ve heard every explanation out there, from the left side, to the right side, and you are just adding to the echo chamber.
You’re not going to influence people. You won’t change their minds. And it’s just another way to let you get steam, grief and anger off your chest.
And, maybe your friends or fans on Facebook saw it, but what happened?
You made a lot of people mad, got a few likes, got a few bravos… and then what did you accomplish to stop the school shootings?
You were doing nothing but wasting your time/tweets/breath.
I hate to be so brutal and blunt – but in order to incite real change posting about it, really doesn’t accomplish anything.
Further, it distracts from the issue at hand. We will bicker over moot points that will never change, and then we forget that people died over it.
It’s kind of like two doctors arguing how to help a patient while he’s dying on the operating table.
Finally, it will only upset you more. It will make you angry, and anxious and feeling helpless. Don’t subject yourself to that.
You’re kids will also read it, and remember what I told you in the first tip? That the same anger you feel towards a person/object/party is the same anger that shooter felt?
5. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Talking To Your Kids
Kids are intelligent people. Don’t underestimate them. They don’t know how to react to a lot of this. They will probably react out of anger, frustration, or not at all.
But, you can’t shield your kids from the reality of the world, as much as you want to. Some children will be afraid to go to school, and you need to talk this over with them.
Understand that some children don’t know how to articulate their feelings, and sometimes, they will just tell you what they think you want to hear. Each child is very different, and that’s why YOU as the parent, have to be gentle, but frank.
I wish I could tell you some prescriptive thing to say. But, the truth is, that’s a load of BS when people tell you that. You gotta talk to them, listen to them, and try to understand what they see.
As adults, we forget that their minds can get a little out of control, or they don’t feel they can be taken seriously. By being gentle, but treating them as mini adults, this will help open up a dialogue between you and your child.
The one thing I cannot stress enough though is that when you talk to them you must listen to them. And, if they don’t want to talk to you about it, don’t pressure them into it.
6. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Writing A List Of Fears Your Kids Have
If your kids have decided to talk with you, and to share with you what their fears are about going to school, I want you to write this list down. Write down fears your child has. Make sure this is done after your child has gone to bed or out of the room.
Then, I want you to pull out YOUR list of fears. Compare the two. If you notice that a lot of your child’s fears are SIMILAR to YOUR fears, you know your child is probably paying more attention to you than you had previously thought.
Circle the ones that are different than the ones you might feel. Pay attention to those things, and start brainstorming POSITIVE ways where you can help your child feal more at ease in that situation.
Is a kid bullying your child? Talk to your child’s teacher about it, and get his or her perspective. Be polite about it, because your child’s teacher and you are on the same team. I promise.
7. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Writing To Your Congressman/Congresswoman
I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on, or what side of the gun issue you are on. We can agree on one thing: These mass shootings have to stop.
Whatever you feel is the issue, and using your list and your child’s list of things they are afraid of – let your local, state and national representatives know these things.
Be nice about it. I know, that’s so hard, especially if you don’t feel heard. But, here’s the thing, these people get so much hate mail, half the ones that drop the F bomb, or are rude are often thrown in the garbage.
If you’re nice about it, you at least get a chance of the representative to read it. But then you keep doing it. This will help you get your anger out, your frustration out, and let them know your fears and your child’s fears.
8. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Talking To Your School Principal
Again, be very sweet about this. You’re kids school principal is often bombarded with parents who complain. You can do this with PTA, or whatever you need to do. But, schedule a time to meet with the school principal, and chat with them.
Tell them what your fear is, what your kids fear is, and ask them what their procedures are to help prevent this kind of stuff.
Your kids teacher and principal are some of the greatest allies you have in this. They will lay down their lives for your kids as quickly as YOU would, so understand that you two are trying to find solutions, not being combative.
9. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Educating Yourself With Facts
In the grand scheme of things, out of the thousands of schools the United States has, school shootings really are not that common. They are rare, but they are brought to light a lot.
Yes, even one is too many, but by educating yourself in this, you’re able to logically think through these things so that you’re not scared. You can probably tell this to your children also, so that as you educate yourself on whatever you feel is the problem you can tell this to your children.
Now, when I tell you to educate yourself with facts, I don’t mean the facts that the newspapers or media outlets tell you. Go directly to the source. If it says it’s from Gallup or Reuters or Pew, go to those websites and read it yourself.
This way you understand the issue and what it’s about, what the history is, what’s worked and what hasn’t worked and so forth.
10. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Being Willing to Listen To The Other Side
I’ve told you that nobody cares about your politics except the people that want to suck up to you or are people who agree with you. You’ve educated yourself to arm yourself with your own personal point of view.
Now, go read the other side. You have to be willing to listen to various view points. The reason isn’t to try to change your personal view point, or anyone elses, because you’re not going to.
The real reason is for you to actually listen to what the other side is saying, because if you listen to what the other side is saying, you’re going to understand…
They want the exact same thing you do, but they have a different approach.
Think of it this way:
You want to go to the park that is about a mile away. You’re neighbor wants to go to the same park. You decide to walk to the park because it’s a pretty day. You’re neighbor wants to go the opposite direction and uses their car.
The same end goal is to get to the park, but they are getting there a different way.
By being willing to listen, and I mean listening, not that whole checking out the moment they say something you disagree with, or interrupting them, but listening to them…
You can begin a discussion. A logical, fact based discussion to try to find a solution.
Believe it or not, it’s easier than you think, especially if you approach it nicely, and don’t try to make them feel like you’re attacking them.
11. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Being Active In Your Child’s School
This can be so hard for working parents. Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs out there. However, there are ways you can be active in your child’s school.
Maintain a constant dialogue with your child’s teacher and principals. Try to do things within the PTA. Do things that show your active, and aware of what is going on.
Sometimes the best friend a kid can have isn’t your kid, but… you. If you can, do birthday parties, or stop by and have lunch. Do something, so your kids know you’re awesome…
And then be nice to the other kids too.
12. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Being Available
In today’s crazy world, everyone has to be super careful about everything. Everywhere you go, you’re walking on egg shells because you’re afraid of offending someone.
Truth moment here – you can never please everybody.
Sometimes, the only person a kid has to talk to really is you. Think about it, they face peer pressure, their parents and teachers can get them in trouble, and they want someone they feel can keep their secrets.
That’s why kids like grandparents. It’s kind of strange being the receiving end of it too, because it makes you feel good. And the best part is, most of the time, the kid just decides they want to talk to you.
13. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Actively Listening To Your Gut
One of the things that everybody says in these things is that they knew the shooter would be that shooter. If you ever have a bad feeling about a particular student or something, don’t stay silent about it. Don’t go overboard with the police about it either.
Instead… befriend that kids parents. Get a sense of the home life, and try to understand your gut feeling.
If that gut feeling continues you might want to discuss it with your child’s teacher.
14. Positively React To Mass Shootings By Being Realistic
Not every loner is going to shoot up a school. I’m sorry to disappoint you. I’m a loner, and I’m trying to find a solution to this issue.
Most loners aren’t loners because they are psychos. Most are just loners because they are introverted and shy. I know I personally never learned how to make friends, so in public I’m very awkward.
This is probably what is happening with these kids who are loners. They don’t know how to make friends, and when they try they get laughed at.
Keep things in perspective. Help your child to keep things in perspective too. They haven’t learned yet how to differentiate fact from hearsay. Help them out with that.
This is only a handful of things that you can do to proactively respond to horrifying news like school shootings. I know some of these tips may seem a little harsh. And blunt. And downright mean, but when there is something horrible that is happening we all have to step back, and be compassionate, logical and proactive.
Our children deserve a better future than what we have given them. We can change it for the better, and it starts with us.
Oh… and if you have kids, give them a hug.
Please be advised that this is not a political post. Any hint of politics, political policies, or theories like that will be deleted from the comment section because the issue is how to keep the children safe.