Dear Parents, Grandparents, Teachers, Educators and Anyone who cares about the present and future of our youth, our society:
First of all, I want to thank the few who reacted and responded to my last 2 articles. Thank you for getting this conversation started.
For the rest of us, what is happening? I'm just really curious why this very serious problem in our country is not on your radar? Or is it, but you just don't want to talk about it or address it?
The problem we're talking about here is young people committing suicide (Ex: a 5th grader and a 9th grader in Northern California from the same affluent school district in May) and young people shooting up their school (I'm sure you've heard the ones on the news. Let me tell you that there are many other incidents that are not on the news, especially all the ones that were planned but not actually executed).
Once in a while, I ask my family to help me out, and we have a discussion at dinnertime about something I've written. This act cultivates a few things: 1) family discussion and interaction about important issues, 2) family supporting one another (because God knows how much I've supported my family! Biggest fan, cheerleader, and enabler of everything good for everyone), 3) what my family really thinks about some important topics, 4) we get to learn a little more about each other and 5) it enables my family and I to focus on something other than how can I leave the dinner table asap so I can get back to my screen of choice asap because gosh, darn it, I worked damn hard on making dinner 5-6 nights a week for everyone. It sucks when everyone just wants to rush through it.
So this last time, I asked my family to come up with 3 reasons why they think that no one is reacting to this very serious and ongoing problem in our country: young people committing suicide, having thoughts of suicide, committing crimes where so many innocent people are murdered, planning shootings at their schools, or having thoughts of killing anyone.
Each member of my family (and our teenage guest for dinner that night) had such insightful key points on what they shared. This is the response from my 17-year old son (he actually emailed me his response first.. this is verbatim from him):
#1: Americans have become numb to the massive violence happening in the real world since it reoccurs like a routine.
#2: Social Media has created a fake reality that teenagers buy into, causing a new senseless standard to their "purpose in life" which has led to an increase in pressure and depression.
#3: The increase in technology has allowed ease to citizens, causing people to worry and get upset over minor issues that don't truly matter so when major issues come along they don't know how to handle them.
Is this true???
Could it be that a teenager can analyze and dig deeper than us adults on why we are not doing more about this problem?
When should we start listening to our children, to our youth?
When the next tragic incident happens?
Or maybe the next one that happens in our community? To someone you know personally?
Don't get me wrong, it's summertime! I want to be happy and do fun things this summer, like everyone else who can, and I will be doing happy and fun things this summer, BUT wouldn't it be so awesome, too, if we could at least start the conversation on what we can do to prevent this type of tragedy from happening in our own backyard?
Maybe even before the next school year starts in a couple of months? Because whatever it is we've been doing up to now to prevent these tragedies from happening, it's not working very well. Reality check, folks: the terrorist acts have gone down in this country, but guess what? our youth is acting up now, even killing now. Harming themselves. Harming others. It's happening. All over our country. And we can't really blame them, can we?
A penny for your thoughts? Ideas?
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