A Nation in Pain: Confusion and Questions

This past week focused on so much tragedy: the death of two individuals at the hands of police and five police at the hand of one shooter in Dallas.  Every shooting and the taking of life is tragic and brings us pain. However, when there is racism that leads to such violence it seems to me to be all the more wounding to the morale of our country.

I don’t think the few represent the whole

I think it is important to be reminded what we are seeing does not represent the core values of most Americans.

It is my hope that we will not re-create the race wars that we attempted to leave behind decades ago. I also hope that we as Americans can use these circumstances for yet another growth step toward consensus and unity.  Particularly in America, where we have diversity of ethnic groups, our commitment should be even stronger to see each other as not one race versus another but of the one human race, all sharing life and space in our country.

Even more alarming

What is more alarming to me are shootings in every major city, everyday, taking the lives of children and adults being. I know Philadelphia seldom has a night without several shootings and deaths.

In Chicago over the 4th of July, there were 60 shootings and 12 deaths, and I am sure many other cities had similar occurrences. Shootings are symptomatic of a prominent problem of violence in our country. There is not one single reason for all of this. However, at its root it begins with the life of a child who became an adult who has somehow gained permission to shoot, maim and kill other individuals.

It is glaringly apparent we are struggling to find ways to deal with traumas, injustices and pain of life. Often, sadly, the coping mechanisms to what is going on in our communities are violent reactions that can lead to death. Consequently, the public nature of an injustice creates a national outcry for reformation and too frequently, vengeance.

We all need to remember that our children are watching, learning and imitating what they hear, see and experience. 

They have anxiety about their safety.  They are concerned about their friends and family.  They become cynical about the world in which they live.  They have experienced more in a week in social media than previous generations have seen in a lifetime.  This adds up to a confusing, painful and stressful world for our kids.

I know that families are having varieties of discussions about safety and the events of this past week.  We need to help our children explore their feelings, give them permission to state their fears, help them find their own safety plans, and shape their minds and values for a society that that values all of human life, no matter what the ethnicity.

It may seem like a small step in such a tragic world, but we all need to be a part of shaping the lives of those who are vulnerable and need our guidance and support.  I think we all want safety for our children and communities. It starts in the heart…with the perception of the life of every child that is placed in our care and the environments that we provide for them each and every day.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network









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