Monday, March 12, 2012

Guns At School

"What’s wrong with our children?”

This has been going on for years now, but just recently the topic has been making the headlines of news more frequently. There have also been a few television shows focusing on this particular subject just to get the word out and keep parents aware that this can happen. Children bringing guns to school and having a shootout, is more serious than ever. We all remember the Columbine high tragedy, where thirteen kids were targeted that day, their lives ended by the simple pull of a trigger. It all stemmed from acts of bullying or unkindness, where two kids felt this was their only way of vindication. A few weeks ago the same thing happened at a high school in Ohio leaving one dead and several injured. Does being bullied at school justify such behavior? Is it fair to the children who go to school, treat everyone equal and want to get a proper education? Some of those same children had their lives taken from them in a blind of an eye. These are tragic events, but they should be addressed so that the cycle is broken and our children feel like their voice is being heard.  

My child attends a great high school in our area but a few days ago it was brought to the attention of school officials that someone was upset and would take out their actions on the people who caused their pain, by bringing a gun to school, fighting or basically any means necessary. In times like these, I thank God for social media. If the incident hadn’t been put on Facebook, would we have gotten wind of it? Would we have gotten a frantic call from our children, hiding out in a closet or empty classroom listening to the screams and hollers of fellow classmates, being ambushed, shot and killed? We will probably never know for sure but I, along with many concerned parents, decided that we would keep our children home the following day or planned day of retiliation. Having them stay home assured us that they would be okay.

My heart goes out to the children ridiculed or bullied, treated like an outcast, but if those things are happening, tell someone! Speak up and speak out about it instead of just holding it all inside or finding other ways to handle the situation. We hear of too many kids who commit suicide for this very reason. No parent wants to receive that news, or find their child hanging from their bedroom closet door, laid out amidst a bottle of empty pills or a seeing brain matter all over the wall from their child sticking a gun down his/her throat. Pay attention to your children. Know their behavior and when it suddenly changes. There is always a reason behind new behavior. Talk to your children. Let them know that you are always in their corner, no matter what. I have a problem with parents who don’t have a line of communication with their children. If a child feels too afraid, ashamed or intimidated by their parents that they cannot come to them when they need to most is a sad situation. Will this type of behavior ever seize to exist?

Stop trying to be friends with your children and be parents first. They will thank you for it later. They will respect you more and when they have children of their own, they will follow your parenting skills. This will ultimately break the cycle of bullying and school shootings. More kids will care about getting an education instead of going to school to do other than that. Don’t ignore all the warning signs because whether we want to believe it or not, there will always be warning signs. And if you see that your child is the one bullying others, sat down and talk to them about it. Let them know that that type of behavior is wrong, unacceptable and simply will not happen. Know the people your children talk to and hang out with. It’s not being nosy, overprotected, or too strict. It’s called “being a damn parent”! Discipline starts at home! The bible clearly states, “Spare the rod, spoil the child”, it shows love. More times than not, a firm raise of the voice will get them together, so spanking isn’t always the only option. And stop making excuses for them. Teach them early on that bad actions will have consequences. Set the rules and stick to them. As they get older, set higher expectations with even more consequences if need be. Let’s stop this vicious act of cruelty from going any further than it already has. Let’s keep all of our children innocent and safe as long as we can. It’s our duty to do so as parents.

Stop making excuses for bad behavior. And if you observe and come to a conclusion that there is definitely something going on with your child and you cannot determine a solution, get help. There is always someone there to listen. Don’t become an enabler. This will only lead them to two places: jail or the grave. I’m just being real about this because this is a serious matter, that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Our children are our future, treat them as such!

Until next time, be inspired, be encouraged and be a better you!

Keke Chanel

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