We are at the point where we are now desensitized to the violence. In the past month, two more school shootings occurred, and they were both quickly replaced by other headlines. Regardless of where you stand with regard to your political beliefs, many of us are asking the same question: how do we stop this?
I listened to Don Wettrick’s podcast last week where he spoke as an educator and a father. I would like to echo some of the comments made on the podcast. I hope that we can find more common ground with regard to human decency. I too have noticed a cultural shift in how we treat each other. Part of it can be seen in the way we speak to each other when we are hiding behind screens. But I’ve also noticed it in face-to-face settings, in public, where we have to interact with each other. I’ve noticed less common courtesy, less kindness, less empathy, and a breakdown in general human decency.
Some people are much quicker to be rude, inconsiderate, and dismissive of the feelings of others. And as Don so astutely points out, we are modeling all of this for kids. Many of them are getting the message that this type of behavior is acceptable.
But it is not acceptable.
It is incumbent upon every educator to make sure that we are addressing it.
I’ll ask the question again: How do we stop this?
The key word in that question is WE.
We, as educators must model empathetic behavior. We must teach students what it means to be human, to be compassionate for others, and to be more accepting of others. Most of all, we need to help students learn to look out for those who don’t feel accepted, those who are withdrawn, and feel as if no one cares for them. We need to show them that they must reach out to those in need at their lowest points.
WE need to let these students know that someone does care about them.
When others argue about why it’s happening and who’s fault it is, they are continuing to further the breakdown.
WE can’t allow that to happen.
WE can’t be a part of it.
It is too important for all of us and our students.