I am in awe of the young people who are willing to take great risks to change the world. Many students left their schools for 17 minutes in memory of these lost and in hope that it won’t be their school next. Wielding phones, social media and community, students and the wider #NeverAgain effort have kept a national conversation going leveraging their social media expertise.
There will not be a single solution to this problem and fighting for safety for students will require great stamina, as the teens have demonstrated. While they are turning their deep, horrific memories and emotions into action, coalition and purpose, I’m a bit nervous this topic is ‘off limits’ for a business newsletter. I seek the courage and conviction they have.
In this issue, I am not going to focus on how to solve the problems of school shootings. This is a complex problem without a single solution. The students won’t let us use that for an excuse. Instead, I am going to focus on how well these young people are leveraging their emotions and how we can start doing that also. The students have noticed and they are choosing. Can we?
What do you stand for?
In our busy days and full weekends, there’s barely time to sit and think. We all stand for something but supporting that something takes time and effort, so we falter. We can justify this behavior because we have so many important things to do – take care of the family, earn money, get promoted or even get a job. We’ll do something about what we stand for when it REALLY gets bad, or a few years from now when the kids are out of school. We use our rational thoughts to disprove what our emotional self drives us to do.
Stop and ask yourself “What do I stand for?” Thinking about this is scary because it involves taking a position which could cause you to experience uncomfortable negative emotions from yourself and others. Not thinking about this feels uncomfortable also, because your emotions are trying to tell your body that change must occur and the world needs you to do it. Spend a little time thinking about how your behaviors would change if you clarified what you stand for.
As time goes by, the conversations regarding school shootings are getting tangled with the uncomfortable factions created by opposite opinions and agendas. Politics, guns, mental illness, luck, self-sacrifice and denial are all mixed together in a confusing soup. What you stand for may cross over into many issues. There are different perspectives and arguments. Can we simply start to use our emotional regulation by agreeing that children shouldn’t get shot at school? Can we use that to build agreement to listen completely to each other and still maintain differences?