There are times we need to stand up, even when it is unpopular to do so, no matter what age we are.
We need each other.
In the case of the student shooter at the Chardon, Ohio, High School, who was not a student at this high school, he was known enough to be taunted and bullied, bullied so much that he wanted his taunters dead. He pulled no punches on his Facebook page about his intentions. Was anyone listening?
We need to stop the growing tide of bullying, as if there is no solution. If someone is attacking us physically, it is assault and battery. The physical bullier is charged by a police officer and arrested. If someone is relentlessly bullying mentally and emotionally, there currently does not seem to be an answer. But our mental state is just as much a part of us as our physical state. We adults need to be accountable. We need to help. Adults need to stand up. Students need to stand up.
We need to empower our children to be able to stand up for young people around them, if they see someone struggling, being bullied, even then the person being bullied is not himself or herself. Adolescence is tough. But it is also an opportunity to teach compassion and empathy for others. Many young people are doing this already. There are so many teenagers doing wonderful things, on sports teams, achieving academic success. Teens, like everyone else, will have their own circle of friends, large or small.
As strong as life is, life is fragile. Life can change in a moments notice. We know this, but it still takes us by surprise when it does. In teaching important lessons to our kids, teaching them to stand up for injustice, for the student being bullied, even if that person is a loner, is important.
Every single one of us is important. Even people we do not like are important. Human life is important.
At times, we are strong, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Other times we are unsure of ourselves, cautious and fearful. Most of us know there is help out there with our friends and family. If things get out of control, we have counseling. It helps to talk things out.
If we, see something, we should say something. That goes for our students also. Students can always go to the guidance counselors, or their favorite teacher, or school principal to let them know if they think someone is in trouble.
The definition of brave people is not that they don’t feel fear, but although they feel the fear, they do what is right, moral and just anyway.
We are not islands, no matter how private we choose to be. Not everyone likes the spotlight, to live out loud. Some of us are shy, maybe even withdrawn. We need to be observant of the world around us, for personal safety, but also for the safety of others.
Some would say we need to mind our own business. Only take care of the self. While self-improvement is a good thing, we live in a world where other people count too. And their lives intertwine with our lives, if only peripherally. We need to be aware, not fearful, but aware of others in our life.
Some might also say people need to toughen up. While that point might need to be made in some cases, we still need to be aware of other people in our world. It may not be our job to monitor everyone else around us. But it is our job to be responsible citizens in the world of us.
If a student along the way reported the bullying that went on in the Chardon High School while the shooter was waiting for a bus to go to another school, perhaps yesterday event might have had a different outcome. But we will not know for sure.
It is also possible that the student shooter mental state was completely unknown to students and his teachers.
One thing is for sure, no man is an island.