20 Feb Florida School Shooting Part 2: Pray and Take Action
Is Cruz the only one to hold accountable in this situation?
As I think about this and the previous school shootings, I can’t help but think about the importance of parenting, community, and teaching our children accountability. Children more often than not will show warning signs in their actions, attitude, and behaviors.
Most children don’t act out completely unexpected. There are often red flags that are overlooked. I am challenging all parents, teachers, and any adult with a child in their life to pay attention! Take heed of the warning signs. We have to stop overlooking the red flags. When we see a child struggling, we need to be part of the cure. If we can’t help, we should find someone who can and is willing.
The day before the Parkland shooting, a grandmother in Washington state handed over her grandson’s journal which allegedly detailed plans for a mass shooting. You can read more from this story on NBC News here.
The important piece is that this grandmother paid attention. She did not ignore the feelings that compelled her to read her grandson’s journal. She didn’t overlook things because she was scared for her grandson or wanted to protect him. We often feel like our love keeps us from speaking up, but maybe it was this grandmothers love for her grandson and for others that led her to contact the police. Her actions helped save lives.
Often times our children spend more time at school than at home. This means that we have to be intentional with our time with them when they are home. We can no longer be okay with our children closing themselves up in their rooms, playing video games all day, and being consumed with social media.
Let’s spend more time talking to our children. We have to engage them even when it’s uncomfortable and they don’t feel like engaging. We have to pay attention! Their lives are depending on it. Sometimes it is their cry for help.
As a parent, what should I be looking for? What are red flags?
- It can be any major life changes/transitions. This means a recent move, change of school, sudden change of friend group, etc.
- It could also be a sudden change in behaviors. This includes children coming home sad or sad to go to school in the morning.
- Difficulty waking your child up in the morning for school.
- Poor reports from the teachers or school faculty.
- Not doing school work or homework is another one.
- A significant change in attire and/or not dressing weather appropriate. This can also include not bathing or changing clothes frequently.
- Staying in their room and/or playing video games from the time they get home from school until bedtime.
- Being consumed with video games or their cell phone (includes social media).
- What is your child posting on social media? Set clear expectations and boundaries.
- Check in with your children’s friends and their families.
- Know who your child is or isn’t hanging out with.
- Discuss and keep in mind any loss or death. This includes a close or distant relative, a friend, an associate, a teacher, a pet, etc.
This list is in no way all-inclusive. You know your child and the children in your life. Don’t be afraid to get to know them better! I want to also challenge you to speak up if you notice a change in another child’s behaviors as well. Let’s bring back the village perspective. It truly does take a village to raise a child.
If you see any red flags. Talk to the child and see if you can work through the issues. If at any time you are uncomfortable with the progress, please do not be afraid or too proud to ask for help. Let’s all take a stand to be part of the solution. Our children’s lives are depending on it.