Uh-oh. Now she’s going to preach about: gun control, teachers need guns, mental health, universal health care, libtards, evil conservatives, sexual assault, feminism, sexism, patriotism, nationalism, racism…
trigger, trigger, trigger!
Those of us living in the United States of America, are living in a fear reactive based culture in general. On top of that, we maintain this bizarre “code of silence” about truths and realities of our culture/town/neighbors/school/family/self which permits us to disengage and disconnect from responsibility to ourselves and to each other. These things prevent us from having productive dialogue, discourse, and disagreements, which could lead to healthy compromise and solutions.
For example: I am confident that there are next to zero parents who want to their child to feel unsafe at school, or to be shot at school. This is the beginning of a dialogue.
Some of us might feel that schools need security/police/armed teachers or staff for our child to feel safe and not be shot at school.
Some of us might feel that we need better gun control/mental health support over all for our child to feel safe and not be shot at school.
(psst… these are not mutually exclusive ideas, just different ideas)
When the dialogue becomes about the extremes, which we are brilliant at, the discourse breaks down and stagnates until the side with the most power and control gets their way. This leaves the rest of us scratching our heads, “what just happened?!!” Or loosing complete interest and tuning into some reality television show/youtuber/drink/exercise/food/work/sex/whatever to tune out our reality.
The power and control duo do not equal good leadership.
Having power and control is not a good indicator of good decision making. (hello, world history and anyone who has been in an abusive relationship)
One of the things that makes our country so great, is that we emerged from a group of people who were unified in their belief that there was a better system for collective living. Rather than relying on those who wielded only power and control, they developed a system of collective input and feedback (not equitable, and with other issues, yes, yes, yes I am simplifying. I said “ONE of the things,” anywho…).
We have the laws we have because we voted for them.
We have the people in office that we have because we voted for them.
Gun laws or lack of? We vote for those. BANG! BANG!
Education system? We vote for that. BANG! BANG!
I am not under any Pollyannaish spell where the magical world of magical peace will be attained through everyone believing in my truth.
I am suggesting that, as a collective, we do not accept our own culpability or responsibility in our collective missteps, disappointments, inactivity/activities. Shame and blame game, baby. Power and control for the win!
WORTHINESS is critical. Believing that one is worthy and others are worthy.
All it takes is for me to look inside my own home, inside of my own family, inside of my own community, to see this playing out.
There are so many scenarios to demonstrate in this dynamic. The two men in my son’s life who are the closest to him struggle to maintain civility, courtesy and respect with SonHerisme. It is awful. I draw my boundaries as I am able to do so, and I am getting stronger and more able everyday. In the meantime, I wonder what these men are doing to help SonHerisme feel worthy as a person. Worthy enough that he can see worthiness in others. Worthy enough that he does not get to the end of his rope as an at-risk teen and go into a high school or workplace or concert, and decide that not only is he unworthy, but so is everyone else. What are they doing to show him how to be a functioning healthy adult man?
I could have this conversation with them. It would not be received.
After the latest High School shooting, my father wondered what the differences could be between that shooter and himself. My father tragically lost his father when he was very young. His mother became ill and died when he was a teenager. He was poor. He was bullied. My father is completely at a loss in understanding why this young man in Florida, and other white men, are shooting kids at schools, when he did not do that.
Unlike these kids, my father had a support system of people who believed he was worthy, and showed him that others had worth too. He had a consistent sense of reciprocal responsibility in his community from the time he was born.
He did not have access to the kinds of firearms people do today.
In our school community, parents are not included in the school-day community at all. It is considered a sacred place for children only (and the staff). Our after-school community consists of primarily female-centric activities run by parents (girl scouts, brownies, garden club, writing club, mother-daughter book club… yes, gardening and writing are not just for girls, but they are female centric and female run). There is a co-ed robot club too, limited and selective, and an athletic club that meets seasonally at a local park (also run by women).
I have reached out multiple times to try and establish interest and leadership in more male-centric activities (scouts, maker-space, running club etc) with little to no response, and ultimately no action. Inevitably someone comments, “where are the dads?,” “c’mon dads, grandfathers, uncles, step up!,” on my social media posts on the school page. As if publicly shaming the men, we will make them want to be involved.
I offered my intention to walk near the school on the planned walk-out days, specifically noting that I would not disrupt the school day. I was told, through an intermediary, that I was going to frighten kindergartners (oddly no mention of the preschoolers, so I guess they are a-okay with my goings on). After much circular dialogue, I finally received confirmation that the principal specifically wanted this person to tell me not to walk near the school. We are so ridiculous in our silence and assumptions. No one thought to have the courtesy to ask me what my vision and intentions were beyond my post. No one thought of how to promote supportive community (as in the entire school community, not just the carved out piece of children and staff) in this charged time. By the way, I was going to walk and talk about peace and safety with my son, on the public sidewalk near the school. Which, it being a public sidewalk and all, no one can prevent me from walking on. Ironically, no one else indicated they were joining us. It was most likely going to be the two of us on a bonding stroll, reinforcing to my son that I was, in some small way, a member of his school community and supportive of the community.
Where in our community are we offering support for our boys to feel that sense of worthiness? That sense that others are worthy? That sense of reciprocal responsibility? We can’t even do it in our own school. How can we expect it to happen in our broader community?
I am struggling in my own home with this.
bang bang bang Bang BANG
I am so proud to be a citizen of this country, despite our gross flaws, because each of us can potentially make a difference by using our voice and vote to steer our collective community and nation. I am finding it amazing that more and more people seem to be engaged and interested in our country’s direction.
I agree that there isn’t a single answer for this recurring gun violence in schools issue, and also that we need to start somewhere.
Changing gun laws seems to be a no-brainer beginning, but it does not address our serious endemic issues (which are often institutionally endorsed).
I believe that we have been teetering on a tipping point for some time in our country. I hope I’m contributing to us tipping in the direction of peace and humanity. I am trying in my little corner, to support my SonHerisme to feel his own worthiness and the worthiness of others.
Maybe I should do more. Maybe I should do differently. For now:
Please let me stay healthy and alive until SonHerisme reaches well into adulthood, to give him the best footing to not become a tragic statistic.
Please let us pause and collect ourselves nationally to support school safety.
Please check on your neighbor.
Please help our fatherless boys (and those with harmful fathers).
Love, Ms. Herisme xo
Bang Bang (Chicken)
Mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, honey and hot sauce – mix ‘em up = bang bang sauce
Fry up some stuff, dip fried stuff into sauce
I hate mayonnaise. Oh, wait. I mean, I like to eat it occasionally when it is called for, but I hate it. I hate the way it looks. I hate reading the word. I hate saying the word. Blech
Do you know what I hate more than mayonnaise? Hypocrisy, “code of silence,” lying, compromised health and safety, kids getting shot at school. You know, the everyday.
b aaa nnnnn ggggggg