Wednesday February 14, 2018 was an exciting morning for many like me that enjoy Valentine’s Day. Having a son in 4th grade, we had to get all of our stuff ready to give to other kids for a special day of love and friendship. What an ironic day, since that was exactly the day that there was yet another shooting in a school, this time in Florida.
The Winter Olympics were on that Valentine’s Day, so why not turn on the TV and watch these amazing people jumping, skiing and doing all these things I am not going to do. While watching, the fun part was interrupted by the disturbing news of the school shooting. Yes, again.
It has been years now that I consciously made the decision that watching news doesn’t bring anything good to me. So what I do now is if the news make its way to me, I first ask: “Can I watch this with an open heart?”
Again, listening and watching the same thing over and over. Every time there is a school shooting, we all get upset, sad, and scared. Some people pray, others complain, some get angry, and we all start looking for whom to blame. In the end, we are all humans, and the majority look for a place to blame and how this could have been prevented.
Let me tell you what I think, my humble opinion. If you don’t like it, I understand. You are welcome to stop reading, you are welcome to keep reading and get upset, or just ignore it completely.
The school shootings will continue, not just at schools but in all places. Let’s all take responsibility, and yes, all this nonsense violence starts with us. We only remember to be one with the community when crap happens. We all remember to hug our kids and tell them how much we love them when we see this crap happening. But when this shit (let’s call it for what it is) is not happening, we decide to look the other way instead of helping our brothers and sisters. We become busy parents, where sports and academics become so important, that we forget to tell our kids and teach them about kindness; that starts with them and at home. We allow our iPads to become babysitters instead of putting the glass of wine down and playing something with our children. We decide just to say, “Well, they are teens, and that’s how it is,” instead of asking our teens, “Why are you this way? Is this really you?”
It feels that our world needs this reminder, the pain in the world, for us to think even about taking action, to hug our kids, to be kind to others. And because we don’t do it naturally yet, we will have more pain. So how do we stop this? This is a weed; they keep growing no matter how many times we cut them. So let’s start from the root, the cause; why the hell do we have this? Is this actually new? Or has this always happened, just in other places but we didn’t know? Or we didn’t care?
As I learned in one of my suicide seminars, suicide can happen to anyone. I believe also that insanity can happen to anyone. This can happen to all of us, regardless of our kindness, our money, our degrees, our parents So let’s start with how one can become this insane? Mental health issues or a lot of pain in your life? Or is it that a lot of pain in your life can lead you to mental health issues? I don’t know. I have even thought, “What if my kid is who perpetrated such a horrendous action?”
I confess that when I was watching the new version of the movie It that I really enjoyed how those bullies got killed in a painful way. They deserved it, right? It was just a movie. I also confess that when I used to get cut off while driving I would sometimes fantasize how the other driver would get in an accident and die in a painful way. I confess that when I am angry at my husband, I literally think for 2 minutes that I would be better off without him.
I have been abused and bullied, but did I turn into a maniac? No, I did not. Did I want revenge? Yes, I did. But I think the love of my family, the support of my psychologist and coaches, and being allowed to talk out all my feelings was a blessing. Bad emotions kill you inside. Those emotions make you sick, not just mentally but physically too. I can’t imagine how my life would have been if I would not have had that support when I needed it the most. I had to learn how to control my emotions, talk about them and do the work of healing.
Unfortunately, not everybody comes to this world with an amazing family like I did. I always felt love at home, even when I felt rejected out of the home. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be abused and bullied all your life with nobody to turn to. Those people that are bullied are terrorized by others. And what do we want to do to terrorists? Yeah, exactly. We want them gone. So how can we avoid other people terrorizing others? Fear, and then that leads us to anger, and the vicious circle never ends.
“Terror” is a big word, but that is literally what we feel. And how do we start terrorizing someone? We start with judging first, with lack of respect, thinking that we are better than others. Lack of love, lack of kindness, lack of loving ourselves. We live in a such a hypocritical society. All this mess starts with us.
Don’t get confused: I am not making excuses for the people who kill or hurt others. For me it is about the roots, about love, about respect, about not judging, about treating others as you would like to be treated, about healing from the inside out. Imagine if we start like that from the beginning, and I mean from the beginning, I really think we could just avoid so much pain in the world. That is just my humble opinion.
But wait! We are a little bit late about starting from the beginning. We are so distracted with what is not important that we won’t do anything about it, and since we are not changing from the roots, and since we are not changing the way we act, and since we keep judging, this will keep happening.
We are the masters of judgement. We are so easy to see the problem in the other person, in those people’s kids. What about our kids? Do we really know what they are feeling or thinking? Or texting or watching? Or are we afraid of going against their privacy? Are we afraid of setting boundaries? Or are we brave enough for us to say what we really think?
I am not a person that would have a gun. Probably the only way I would have a gun is if my life were threatened directly by a person. But otherwise, if you give me a gun now, it would be dangerous, because if I get my two-minute crazy day, it could get ugly, or maybe not, but why would I take that risk? Unfortunately, we are living in a world where shootings are real. Often, I think, “What if there is a shooting in a place where I am? What would I do? What if the gun ends up near me? Can I even use it against that bad person? Not really.” So I have decided to take lessons on handling a gun safely and learn how to use it. Would this class guarantee that nothing would happen to me? Unfortunately not, but it makes me feel better.
I also have been thinking lately about how naïve is my son. Most parents prefer not to show the ugly part of the world to their kids, and I understand. It is a very uncomfortable conversation. Some parents go even further on protecting them from whatever is uncomfortable for their kids. And that is ok. I respect and not judge those parents. But in my experience, learning about the ugliness of the world from a young age taught me to develop certain skills, taught me to protect myself if I ever was in a situation of ugliness, and taught me not to think that my life was over because something awful happened, so I will be talking to my kid about that very soon.
You don’t know my kid, but I am sure that if my kid ends up in a shooting, he won’t react quickly. He won’t think about where he can hide. Would I be ruining his life because I am talking to him about that? I don’t think so. I was taught when I was a kid many things that American kids would have never been taught: how to protect my windows from a bomb, how to be aware of what is going around me, where to hide, how to survive, and how we still have other options after a terrible thing happens. Would this talk with my kid guarantee that nothing bad would happen to him? Unfortunately not, but it would make me feel better. As we have talked about drugs, sex, suicide and body safety rules, it is time for me to talk about safety rules in a war zone.
Oh God, this blog is so long that I am even tired of reading it, so I don’t blame you if you are already done. But this is more about me, about me getting all these words out, trying to understand the non-understandable, trying to make sense of the nonsense, trying to protect what can’t be protected. It does not matter for me how much I pray, how much I march, how much I call our congress, if I vote for another president, how much I blame others and how much I blame myself. For me, it is about taking my TrueSelf action: teaching my kid about love and respect all the time, not just when something bad happens. And not just teaching him, but also being the best role model for him and for others. To be part of the solution and not part of the problem. To care about someone for who they really are and not for what they have or look like.
So, while I am trying to take all these action steps in my everyday life, like learning how to use a gun, telling my son what to do in the event of a shooting, not to judge, to lead by example, I also fail every day, especially at home with my close ones. An important talk is coming to my house, an uncomfortable one. I want to make sure my kid knows that if he hears even a joke about someone coming to the school to harm or even kill others, he needs to speak up and that we will be there for him to guide him. I am trying my best to talk to other parents, to get to know them so that we can encourage and support each other in making a stronger community regardless of our differences.
Good for those who march, for those who pray, for those who call congress, for those who vote, but that is not me; I take action another way. I start at home very, very strong, even when I fail, I have talked to my school to raised concern, I have talk to other parents, I offer to volunteer to start or help with a program about selflove at the school. We are all in this fight, I won’t be taking my son out of school because I have the hope that won’t be happening in his school. At the same time, I know it can happen anywhere, anytime. It is my hope that won’t happen again at all. It is my humble hope that we can change as a society.
There is no proper way to end this long, boring blog because I have so much to say that I have not said, but this blog has to end at some point. All I can say to end this is that life coaching has proven what I already knew, that all suffering and struggle comes from the inside, comes from our past, and the past of our parents. And whatever resentment we have hurts us emotionally and physically. Sometimes we are so caught up in the future that we forget our present, our gift of the now. Don’t let the guilt, the shame, or the negative reaction hurt someone or yourself. We all are trying, I hope all, to take action in whatever way we feel comfortable. Look inside your home before judging other homes, look inside your kids before judging other kids. Give your kids the gift of failure because they will gain great teachings from it, and we will fail together, and we will win together in this journey that we were chosen to live. Speak, listen, love, be grateful, have hope, and prepare just in case, because not everybody speaks, listens, loves or is grateful or has hope.
Focus your thoughts in what you want to attract; remember they are powerful. Focus on love. Everything I will do can be done because of fear or love. I choose to do things because of love. What can you do today to take your TrueSelf action based on love?