Another shooting. What a world we live in that we have to say "another". As counselors, I think we might see the shooting from a different perspective. Obviously we all see tragedy, brokenness, sadness, and the hurt. But I also see relationships, or lack of. What if the shooter had been invited to sit at a lunch table, been asked how their weekend was every once in a while, been looked at in the eye by another person, and said I see you.
When I see another school shooting come across my newsfeed, I see a call for relationships. A call for going out on a limb, possibly (and probably) feeling uncomfortable, and making a connection with someone that needs another person to stand next to him/her so they don't feel so alone in this broken world.
To the shooter in Parkland, and every other one before him: I want to change for you. I want to go out on a limb more often to find the kid, just like you, who is hurting and desperately needing support, and extend a hello, a how are you, a short conversation. These little limbs, might turn into branches, which could turn into a tree. A tree with roots. Roots that go beyond themselves, and into deeper relationships to foster lasting friendships.
While I cannot change what has happened, I can change my view of where I am going and who I am going out on a limb for. Here are a few ways I think this could happen:
1. Ask teachers who they believe to be lonely/without relationships.
2. Go to the playground every day, even for 10 minutes, and see who is being left out, or choosing to be alone consistently.
3. Go to the lunchroom and notice who is moving tables often, still trying to find their group. Also look for those who are alone, unengaged in conversation regularly.
4. Have lunch bunch with every kid in the school (I start in August, usually end in January and do groups of 4) and make note of the ones who don't seem to have strong relationships, or are able to connect with their classmates.
One counselor per 500+ kids seems impossible, and to be honest, some days it is. I think the more conselors share what they are doing, how they are doing it, and encourage one another, the closer we can come to reaching as many kids as possible at a heart level- not a check the box level. Tell me what is working for you!
Going out on a limb, looking to create roots,
Your Floridian Chick