Connector Beth

Non-profit professional. Care deeply about family, friends and community. Love to problem-solve. Love to laugh. Love to read. Love to learn.

Can We Find Common Ground to Unite Us? Please, to Save Our Children and Our Souls/Ourselves?

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     I’ve been reading a lot the past few days about life in America, and young people who shoot up schools (and the so-called adults who shoot up public spaces), saying that their parents/guardians are too kind (blaming them) toward their kids, and don’t raise them correctly.
     I’ve also seen a lot of articles (from people in the mental health field) saying our kids are suffering from more depression and anxiety than in the past. (I’m not talking only about school shooters, but about children/teens/young adults in totality, in addition to us, their parents.)
     Many of these posts appear to blame parents and their kids for behaviors and mental health issues. As I was sitting in my vehicle this morning after a vicious Minnesota ice storm, with the “defrost” button on for about 20 minutes, waiting to see out of and scape/clear my windows so I could drive to a meeting, I sat in silence and… simply… thought….. about the world as we know it these days.
     I’m not a mental health professional, not a teacher, etc. But I do work with a lot of families and kids. Here’s my gut reaction after those few minutes of silence today……
     For almost two decades, our children (and we, their parents) have lived in fear and in the reality of school/public location shootings. Columbine happened in 1999; that’s before current high school (and some college) students were even born – they know nothing differently; school and public shootings have happened on a regular basis since before many of them were born.
     9/11 happened during this time (for our kids who are a bit older – the Millennials – the ones who experienced it first-hand, on TV, often in their classrooms in real time – sometimes, as with our son, when his uncle was working at the Pentagon and he saw the that particular plane hit it, thanks to the TV in his classroom – that’s another story, for another day – thankfully, all family members were safe).

We’ve been at war in various countries for 17 years, aka, for the entire lives of many of the children we have raised, are raising, or are speaking out on behalf of people they have lost through violence (many of our children or their friends have been deployed, even multiple times, though they may have enlisted in the National Guard, which was never intended to fight internationally -our children or their friends  have seen things none of us could even imagine, and none of which they signed up for).

     We have a 24/7 news cycle, which never ever tries to unite us, but consistently tries to polarize us.
     We adults who are parents to these young adults or younger children are often paralyzed, traumatized, and riddled with anxiety ourselves. Why would we expect our
CHILDREN (even if they are young adults) to have any less anxiety than we do?
     IHMO, today’s horrific behaviors are NOT (for the most part) because of bad parenting – they are, for the most part (again, IMHO), a product of the society we have today – we divide each other, we fear-monger, we don’t try to work together, we distill divisiveness.
    I whole-heartedly wish that would stop, that we could take a few deep breaths, and decide to work together to find and act on common ground. That might be, at least, a first and positive start.
     I admire the young people speaking out these past few days. They are courageous; they are articulate. I don’t see them as pawns (as so many “false-flag bearers” do). They are our future. They are the ones who will make a difference, and make their votes count. If I were a politician (of any party), I would make sure to spend some time with them and really – REALLY – listen. These are the adults who will be in charge in not-too-many years. They have some good ideas (maybe idealistic? Maybe not.) – why not engage them in constructive conversations – again, in order to find some common ground?
      These intelligent, articulate young people are those we want working on the solutions for our future. They know what it’s like to be (often literally) in the cross-hairs of politics and issues; they are the ones who are learning to speak up and make changes; they are the ones who have lived the past two decades in this sometimes-very-weird world of ours. I say, let’s give them a chance, and stand by to help them when they need – and support them when they’re doing a great job.

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