If I see one more post about “gun control” or “mental health” or “political” crap I might go crazy.
The problem isn’t the left. Or the right. Or Trump. Or the people in power. It’s not cops, or terrorists, or the society we live in. (Certainly, we could fight back and forth all day on any of the above. So trust me when I say I’m not negating the importance of said discussions..... in a HEALTHY way..... ideally NOT on Facebook.)
Instead of shifting blame and pointing fingers, what if we grappled with self for a hot second?
I know I know. YOU aren’t a “crazy with a gun”. And I don’t have to “send your kids to school” in fear.
But the blame shifting and arguing, like in a marriage, only escalate the problems. Instead of choosing a side, what if we all decided we are actually on the same team? What if we decided to man up (or woman up in some instances) about our own part in the problem.
Because really, the problem is solved in the home.
No but really. It is.
Instead of sharing that media-outlet post, maybe try talking with your family. Your kids. Your circle of influence. MAYBE try discussing what’s going on with their day, week, month.
Because there’s 2 sides to this “fight”. The pro guns-side. And the pro-mental-healthcare side. When really, it should be a values team.
If you spent a few minutes a day talking with your family, your kids, your spouse, about their day. What happened. What didn’t happen. Discussing their dreams and passions and loves. Learning about their failures, their disappointments, their worst. Really listening to what they’re saying because you’ve turned off all the screens and looked them in the eyes and HEARD them for a hot minute, maybe you’d find the HEART behind those eyes that begging for help through depressing situations. Maybe you’d notice the dream they have to help others. The passion and excitement they have for the girl at school who is lonely or the guy at work who just lost his child. Maybe if we started talking to each other instead of posting AT each other, we could hear what’s really happening around us and better HELP those in crisis. Because maybe if in crisis, they’d come to us instead of running to violence, crime, or some other heinous act to get people to HEAR them.
We’ve gotten SO terrible at ACTIVELY LISTENING as a people, that we’ve forgotten what it even means.
Politicians and lawmakers can’t be solely responsible for ALL of us. Good heavens someone is BOUND to slip through a crack. We can ALL take some initiative and close the gap significantly by helping reach out when we see people around us struggle with unstable life choices or mental crisis.
As for those with guns- if I’m totally honest, I agree it’s a right and you should in fact be able to handle your own weapon, for whatever leisure purposes you want. Because you’re responsible. And you’re diligent to care for it, and understand the weight of it’s power. But the diligent never suffer at additional checkpoints for the sake of the larger picture.
If gun control is what would help solve the issue, then do it. I’m not an advocate for gun BANS. because I think that’s just stupid given history. And we can’t trust government or big brother enough with holding the only keys to the only weaponry around.
But responsible people get licenses for their cars. And they get insurance for them. And they take a class and pass a test to drive them. Which means they could be just as responsible, for heavy weaponry.
The bigger the gun, the bigger the responsibility. The bigger the responsibility, the bigger the credentials to have one.
But we are all so enamored with banging the loudest drum and blowing the loudest whistles that we fail to recognize we can actually be a part of the problem, and likewise part of the solution.
Instead of shifting blame, we can look inward and question how we, as individuals, and therefore together, can make a difference.
Start at home. Start by teaching your kids that life is to be honored and valued. That they matter. That their friends matter. This is a value of LIFE issue. I truly believe more than half of the depression and anxiety and fear and bullying issues we have in all areas, could be solved if not completed irradicated, if we simply valued others over self.
Teaching your kid to prefer someone else as better than themself, allows for kids at school to get along. It allows for kindness to erupt and compassion to brew. It allows for friendships to flourish. And it eliminates the push and shove of “I’m better” and “me first”.
Start at home. Start dreaming and exploring and passionately pursuing the purpose of your family. When kids find a purpose, they have the potential to reach greatness. And so do you- no matter how old. If you love to paint, learn to paint well. If you love to cook, take a class, learn the craft, and cook gloriously! If you like problem solving or gardening, singing or giving- then do it WELL and cultivate PURPOSE. No one else in the world can be you, and do what you can for the rest of society. And cultivating purpose and passion for said purposes creates identity, and self worth, and belonging, and interdependence on life itself.
People with mental illness, or even those with perfectly functioning minds- lose it and go crazy because they are alone, feel under valued, not heard, not seen, upset and simply feel as if they don’t matter and wouldn’t be missed. Help your family find their place. Help your family, your kids find their passion. And steward it into a creative gift that serves others- called PURPOSE.
This isn’t a political problem.
This isn’t a scholarly problem.
It’s not a problem for culture as a whole, or rocket scientists, or law makers, or psychologists to figure out and spoon feed us answers.
It’s OUR problem. It’s my problem. It’s your problem. And we can help solve it if WE would do OUR part.
The last thing I want to say, is to all of those who don’t know how to handle the so-very-close-to-home situations you’ve been faced with. I keep seeing post after post of “How?”
How do I tell my kids what just happened?
How do I protect their innocence and yet keep them safe?
How do I prepare them for school tomorrow, or the God-please-not-my-kids event that could happen tomorrow, or the next day, or the next.
Just do it.
You can go with fear and trembling....but you still have to go.
Children are resilient. They are willing to learn. And they are uncommonly understanding of life situations, even when we think they can’t or shouldn’t have to handle them.
Should we have to teach our kids about gun violence in school? Nope.
Do we have to? Yep.
So you’re going to have that talk. You’re going to sit them down, and be it with tears in your eyes and a tremble in your voice you’re going to explain to them that there are bad things that happen around us. But what they can do, is.....and you fill in the rest.
And if you tremble or tear. It’s ok. Because you will have only taught your child the sacredness of the situation, and how fragile it is.
And you’re going to get through it. And you’re going to continue the dialog until it is no longer awkward, and no longer scary, and no longer a crippling, fear-mongering, death-inflicting threat.
Those who are afraid, are those whose eternities are not yet sealed.
Seal your eternity.... and then have the conversation.
Bottom line: start in your home.