Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Gun Violence and Children--What is a parent to do?

As a preschool teacher, and as a mother, I find myself worried about the violence in our society. Often, I feel a sense of powerlessness when I hear about shootings that are happening with alarming frequency in my city/state/country.  I wonder why we are such a gun crazed society that willingly accepts the licensing of our drivers, but radically fights the licensing of our gun owners, requiring gun safety instruction and mental health background checks, and regulating gun sales.  Isn't owning a gun just as much of a responsibility as driving a car?  But I am not a politician.  I am not a powerful lobbyist.  I am not a well connected political insider.  I am just a mom, and a preschool teacher.  So I have decided that there is something I can do.

I can choose to not allow any type of violence in my home or classroom.  I can choose to teach my children and students that violence is never the right answer.  I can choose to not spank my children-- because spanking is using violent means to control another person's behavior.  I can stop my students from playing pretend games of shooting and throwing bombs, and rather encourage them to create things with blocks, paint pictures with their little hands, put on dress up clothes and pretend they are a mommy or firefighter or chef in the kitchen.  I can speak with other parents about the movies we show to our children, and the toys we buy for them.  Hopefully, I can make a difference by asking parents to examine their own homes and toy cabinets along with their attitudes about guns and violence.

Are you glorifying violence in your home?  Or are you teaching your little ones to think and create and dream and believe in a brighter future.  If our generation cannot figure these problems out, maybe our only hope is in our children.  So please raise them to believe that education and creativity and love for one another always trumps violence.  No matter what the toy companies want you to believe.

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