Regarding the senseless Colorado shooting early this morning -
What causes someone to take innocent people’s lives away? And can we, as parents, do anything about it?
Is it lack of attention, love or support from friends and family? Mental illness? Alienation? Low self-esteem? A desire for power over others? Whatever the shooter’s back story, whether it rewinds to his childhood or not, it all comes down to one simple truth that we as parents and educators must try our hardest to instill in our children from the very beginning – be nice to people and have compassion. Sounds easy, but it’s harder to put into practice than it seems.
Teach your kids that their words not only have the capacity to hurt but to heal.
Model compassionate behavior for your children.
Communicate with them. Try to listen without dismissing their feelings, no matter how trivial their problem seems.
I honestly don’t believe that some people are born bad. I think that a person’s life experiences are directly related to their behavior. Everyone at their core just wants to be liked and to be happy. I truly believe that.
If you see warning signs with your child of bullying or being bullied, hanging out with the “wrong” crowd, showing signs of anxiety or depression – do something about it. Scary as it may be, as parents we are entrusted with our children’s lives, and our influence lasts well beyond childhood. No, we can’t stop all of the violence in the world, but we can be a safe haven where our children can feel comfortable knowing they have an ally. Too many times it seems people cry out for help and nobody hears. We can’t stop everyone from hurting others with their words and actions, but we can begin by letting our children know that we are there for them, even when it seems the rest of the world is not. Even as our children become adults, we must stay involved in their lives and take note of any behaviors that throw up a red flag.
I don’t know all of the details of this story – they will trickle out as authorities speak with the shooter’s family, friends and acquaintances, but I have no doubts that warning signs were aplenty as his Mother was quoted as saying, “You have the right person.”
What do you think? Do we have the power to influence our children into adulthood? Are there some people that are simply “bad seeds” or do you believe underneath every violent act there is a cry for help?