It is Monday morning at bit after 8 am and my youngest children are still under the covers and deep in sleep on this rainy day as the rest of the world already beings it’s heavy hearted trek to school and work and whatever else their day holds for them.
I was asked many times over the past few days if I felt “lucky” that I homeschool given all that has happened. Of course my answer is yes but not for the reason that they question was asked. In fact of all days today I wish I could wake them up and put them on a bus with all the children who launch into this day knowing what they know.. even if what they know are half truths and Fox News propaganda in the wake of the tragedy .
You see I would be sending them in support of each parent who has made the choice to use public school ( or private or charter).. and for those who don’t think they have a choice and public school is their babysitter so that they can work to put food on the table. For whatever reason those kids are there they deserve the best we can give them and at the very very least they deserve to be safe. Their safety is our job, but it starts at a cultural level and is way lost by the time they enter the school house doors.
Our children deserve teachers who can teach without keeping a wary eye on the door for a stranger in the hall or worry over any of the other heinous things they need to now worry about. Our job as parents in helping those teachers starts at the cradle in the way we choose to parent.
I don’t live in a bubble or under any silly illusion that homeschooling would protect my children from something so senseless as the Sandy Hook shooting given that the incident before this was at a mall and before that a theater but what I do believe is that as parents we are part of the problem and the catalyst of the solution.
Yes, I am going to say it.. parents are culpable in the creation and acceptance of a culture where violence is glorified, merchandised and one where our children wallow in it to a degree where many of them don’t think it is all that strange or are horrified that this happened. If you buy, use or condone your child or yourself being part of this pseudo-violent culture you are part of the problem.
There is a very good reason violent video and games such a first person shooter games are used to train and desensitize military sharp shooters and even your average solider. The mind of even a young adult is malleable to the extent that the military can make killing .. the pulling of a trigger to end a life so routine that there is no hesitation involved. So now put an even more sensitive forming mind deep in the soup of regular use of first person shooter games, gore filled movies and acceptance of this as common and constructive entertainment and see what you get. If you as a parent permit this.. YOU are part of the problem but if you have real guts you can be part of the solution.
I grew up around guns, I owned my own and I target shot at least a couple times a month with my father. Safety was paramount as was respect for all around me but it was a different time.. a time when the most violent thing you could see on occasion was a western cowboy shoot out on Saturday afternoon television. My mind was not steeped in killing for entertainment and for that I am glad. At the time it was the culture, now for me as a parent it is an active daily choice not to bring petty market driven commercial entertainment based violence into our lives. It is a small step and not the total answer but it is the start.
If you have the guts now is the time to remove the violence from your life and that of your children as you are able- this means your teenagers as well as your little ones. That means stripping the computers and your video library and music of such trash. It means actually policing what your children ( newborn to 18) watch and what they are doing when they are over at you’re their friends’ houses ( and can PROMISE you that you will be shocked). It means stepping up pulling your head out of your ass and actually parenting your children for good and not so they just exist. They are going to wail and bitch like an addict denied their next hit, for a very good reason .. they are addicted to violence.. and as parents we let that happen.
This culture has made is really really easy to abdicate our roles as parents to both the video nanny and the school. The schools job is to teacher the three R’s.. not morals, not God’s place in our lives and not a respect for those around us, that is our job as parents and right now we are failing our kids in epic proportion but in that same breath we are the only hope our children have. Are you ready to step up?
What can you do?