Thursday, September 13, 2012

Teach your children well

So another school year is upon us and, if you are a Wyoming parent like me, you sent your little ones to school with mixed emotions. 
For me there is a sense of relief. No longer will my kids be at home eating everything in the house, playing video games, neglecting their chores, and leaving every item that draws electricity on. I think my wallet is sighing, too. 
Of course there is that sense of regret, too. We didn't go out an explore like we wanted to. We didn't get to go camping. We didn't get to go on a trip. We did however spend a lot of time together. 
But then there is that lingering feeling. That feeling of dread. The dread that parents at Baltimore, Maryland's Perry Hall High School came face-to-face with today. 
A 15-year-old student fired a gun in the cafeteria, wounding another student. Another shot went off when teachers grabbed the boy in stopping further violence. Thankfully no one was killed
School shootings seem commonplace, almost synonymous, with our school year. 
"So, little Jimmy, how was school today?"
"Great Dad! Only one shooting happened."
How sad is that? What has happened that our kids feel the need to carry a gun with them to school and shoot at other students? Why is there this unending need for violence and hate?
While I agree that video games, movies and even music can play a small part of it, I insist it is a small part. 
I think it starts at home. Yes, it starts there, with the parents. We, the parents, are the ones who miss the signs, fail to educate, fail to love our children. We become to self-absorbed that we are oblivious to our kids wants and needs. 
As we all know, kids are shaped by our actions and our words. When they see us doing or saying something, they think it's ok.  
I know for a fact that my political beliefs were the same as my father's, when I was younger. I know that I carried a lot of the same misgivings he and my mother carried. 
Thankfully, they raised me in such a way that I understand kindness, acceptance, and understanding. They taught me to listen before I take action. They taught me about responsibility and, and I will never forget this, they taught me the value of your word. I thank them for it. 
So I say to you, fellow Wyoming parents, take time to teach your children. Reach out to them, ask them how their day was. If they don't answer with more than a single word answer, find another way to ask. Be a part of their lives. Be concerned about their concerns. Show them you are there for them in every way that they might need you. There will be no regret if you do. 
Here is hoping that this will be the last school shooting we hear about for a while. Here's to hoping that all of our students will find the school a safe place to learn

"Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you'll know by."

Teach Your Children
Crosby, Stills and Nash