I have said prayers for the safety of my children since before they were born. When I brought my first born home from the hospital, I distinctly recall how much safer he was in the womb than in the real world. Because I had some control. (and didn’t know what the hell I was doing)
As they have gotten older, I realize most of the things I worry about are out of my control.
I can’t control whether the carpool driver will get in car accident on the way to school every morning.
I can’t control whether my daughter will experiment with a “vape” while hanging out with her friends.
I can’t control whether they will be sexually molested by someone they know.
I can educate them. I can talk to them about difficult subjects.
I can be voice inside their head until their voice is strong, confident, and developed.
I can annoy them, remind them, irritate them.
Look both ways before you cross the street.
Don’t talk to strangers. Stay together.
Always wear your seatbelt.
Good touch, bad touch.
Stop, drop, and roll.
For the 2nd time in less than 2 months, my son’s high school has been on a “lockdown.” (lockdown where doors are locked, blinds are closed, kids are away from windows, hours to clear classrooms) Both of these situations resulted from Snapchat posts that were reported to police & administrators. Fortunately, both issues were resolved without incident; however, I keep worrying about the next time. Will our community be as fortunate?
Tragically, the social media hints and posts shared by the school shooter in Parkland, Florida were not enough to prevent the deaths of 17 young people and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I am not going to pretend to know everything about the situation nor am I going to get into a discussion about gun control.
However, I am going to challenge:
Sunday School Leaders
to hold ourselves accountable for talking to children about their digital lives and what they are seeing (and posting).
Is it funny, serious, dangerous, illegal?
Could it be misinterpretted?
Was it shared by someone who may not have many friends?
Or someone who might get picked on?
Does your gut tell you I need to tell someone about this?
Having daily conversations is critical to understanding the lives they lead and the lives they see through in a mobile device or tablet or laptop. Considering the time they spend “engaging” with friends, acquaintances, and even students they may not know personally, their insights into personalities and behaviors is expansive.
It’s our responsibility to educate all children to speak up when they see something. But they have to know what to look for … we cannot assume they do, which is why these daily conversations are crucial in the development of that intuition or “gut” feeling.
“When you know better, you do better.” ~ Maya Angelou
Blaming others is not going to change anything. We each have a responsibility.
Thank you for reading.