Since 2013, there have been at least 185 shootings in schools throughout the United States. Unfortunately, 2016 is on track to mirror the past couple of years. What scary statistics, right?!
These shootings are happening across the country in quiet suburban schools and urban city schools alike – no one is immune to this danger. If you don’t believe it, look at this map showing school shootings.
There is a dangerous collective of anger, ignorance, hormones, and egos that collide every single day in our school hallways. Not everyone has the ability, like you, to reason their way past being slighted by another student. Not everyone has the social perspective that you may possess, to understand the difference between a real threat and some kid talking trash.
The weapon of choice could be a baseball bat, a chair, or a belt. The way you handle and react to stress may not be the same as the other individuals standing around you right now. How we deal with our fears and emotions is manifested in our actions.
Many times, students may require assistance coping with depression and pain. Honestly, all of us need to make a better effort to help those who may be hurting. Sometimes, both teens and children may need a helping hand when it comes to dealing with the issue of bullying. A little bit of help goes a long way.
We all live in the world we create. If we want to be part of a stronger social grouping, we have to make the effort. We have to take the first step to include ourselves with others around us. By the same token, we need to offer a hand to someone who is hurting.
If you sit back waiting for the heavens to open up and happiness to fall from the sky, you’re in for a lonely life. Understand that you have the ability to be proactive in building a better community for yourself and those around you. You have the ability to help us to #Stand Together.
Growing up, I discovered that I wasn’t quite as athletic as the other kids. I was just skinnier – maybe too skinny. My laugh was just a bit odd. The one thing that wasn’t lacking was this one group of kids who seemingly went out of their way to remind me I wasn’t as cool as they were. That hurt. That hurt badly. For years, I kept that pain inside. I didn’t think anyone could see how much I was hurt. I figured that if I hid the pain, no one would know.
A bit later, I was out with my older sister and two of her friends. They were two years older than me. I felt safe with these folks. They always let me hang out with them. We got along well. I knew these folks had my back. One afternoon, one of the guys looked at me, smiled, and lightly shoved me back into a fence, not hard, just enough to keep me off balance. I straightened myself and looked at him with a “What was that?” type of look. He smiled. Again, he shoved me back into the fence again.
I stumbled, almost falling over this time. Again, I straightened myself. This time, I asked him directly “What’s your problem?” He looked at me, smiled and said “Get used to this. Life is not always going to treat you nicely. You need to stand tall, believe in yourself and stand your ground. Be proud of who you are. You know when people give you shit? Guess what? They have the same problems as you do. They have the same fears. The difference is that they just have enough support around them, so it doesn’t show.”
He was sharing a lesson that no other person had taken the time to teach me. I didn’t have a clue. He told me that at one point or another, we’re all scared. We’re all frightened. We all ask ourselves “What do they think?”
If you think you’re alone or the only one with issues, you’re wrong. We all ask the same questions at one point or another. When we’re isolated, we have no way to protect ourselves from our fears. When we #Stand Together, we grow together.
My sister’s friend was blunt. He got in my face and let me know that if I wanted to change the things around me, that first, I had to believe in myself. His entire intent was to challenge me not to be scared. He taught me to keep a strong vision of myself. One of my sister’s friends took a quick moment out his day and taught me a lesson I’ve remembered throughout my lifetime.
When you hear this story, with which kid do you identify with the most? The scared kid, the anonymous bullies, or the friend who chose to share a lesson that changed another person’s life?
Most folks would agree that at some point in life, you need to take a stand to either help someone or to make a situation better than you found it. If we let the bullies win, we’ll begin to lose our self-respect, the integrity of our communities, and our ability to create positive change for the betterment of all.
What have you done to help? Have you ever taken the time to give someone a life lesson?
When you see someone being bullied do you walk away or #StandTogether?
When you see a bully, do you take the time to see the insecurities behind the bullying?
When you see someone isolating do you walk past them or offer a smile and some kind words?
Small actions can have big ripples. Be a ripple.
Parents can help.
Teachers can help.
Coaches can help.
You can help.
We all have a part in fixing the problem or watching it grow worse.
We have to stop the killing. Let’s talk about us working in unison in order to make our schools safer. This issue is about making everyone feel welcomed into our communities, into a safe environment. When you are ready to take the first step in reducing school violence, join us at #OneMoreDay or OneMoreDay.today.
Thomas Harris a part-time writer trying to spread the word about #OneMoreDay to end school violence. Join him over at www.OneMoreDay.Today
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