It is an interesting time to work in a school. There is an uproar for student safety as the conversations about gun violence in our schools have once again become very prevalent. There are conversations about teachers carrying guns and students walking out. It is hard enough as an adult to process all of this, and even more challenging to help our students work through their frustrations, confusion, sadness, and anger. I shared a message with our school this week that I think is important to remember when we are in the midst of challenging situations. It is an idea that has stuck with me from Mark Batterson’s book If.
Making a decision against something is half the battle; making a decision for something is the other half.
It usually does not take much time to understand what people are against. We have become really good at getting upset and talking about a problem. When we have been mistreated we quickly turn to complaining and posting about everything that is wrong. While we are great at sharing our displeasure with the world, we have become really bad at sharing solutions.
Solutions to problems, especially the ones we are facing in our schools today, are rarely easy to fix. They take sacrifice, giving up personal comfort, and long term commitments to change. It takes a great deal more than standing up and speaking out for one day.
We held an event in our school this week in our school. It lasted for 17 minutes to honor the 17 lives lost in Parkland, Florida. As we ended the event, I told the students who attended the the 17 minutes we spent at that event, were the least important 17 minutes in making change. Changes happens once they left the event. Change will happen according to how they act after the event. Change will happen according to how they behave after the event. What they do over the next few days, months, years will determine what change we will see.
While I greatly applaud students speaking up to make their voices heard, I implore those that want change to continue to align your behaviors to the change you want to happen. One day never makes change, it takes focus and commitment in what we stand for over time. Our students, as they grow and become young adults, will be the group that brings change. My generation has done enough to mess things up, and I have faith that our youth will be the group that will right the ship.
Instead of getting mad, let’s begin to model for our students what it means to stand for something. Let’s help them learn how they can constructively make their voices heard. Let’s teach them in a way that will give them the tools to be the problem solvers for the issues we need to solve with the very difficult challenges we are currently facing.
As our students are struggling to deal with current events, as teachers are struggling to understand the same events, let’s make sure we support each other in understanding what we need to stand for and how we can align our daily actions and behaviors so that we can be the change we want to see.
Keep learning, keep growing, keep sharing!