Another massive act of violence has been perpetrated against our nation’s students. Why aren’t we mentioning education in our talks about prevention?
The media is at it again with their coverage of the violent stabbing that took place today in Pittsburgh. Once again there’s no talk of empathy, little talk of the victims, and much speculation about what gun laws or mental health screenings could have prevented such an attack. There’s no attempt to dig to find the root causes, no mention of why America is renowned around the world for having perhaps the most violence within school systems. There’s no talk of education and there’s plenty of politicking. Al Jazeera America brought up at least something interesting and possibly informative: the suspect and most of the victims are male.
Upon a bit more digging I found similar concerns brought up on Twitter:
fuck is wrong with these angry little white boys shooting and stabbing up schools
— brittany (@dudeimanoreo) April 9, 2014
Just saw that there was a stabbing in PA and am curious why it’s always boys who act out this way #genderdifferences
— mikeyb4 (@MikeyBarnumJr) April 9, 2014
Boys are always stabbing and shooting up schools #boys
— Kayla Markin (@kaylamarkin) April 9, 2014
So, what about our nation’s boys? How best can we help them? We can start, right now, by refusing to let our anger for the suspect cloud the complexity of this situation and pull away from our compassion for everyone involved.
And in regards to education, is Mark Greene right? Is it time to stop “teaching to the test” and time to start helping our nation’s youth develop 21st century educational and interpersonal skills?
It is. But in order for that to happen us adults MUST do the same for ourselves. The conversation about true education reform–reform that includes not just teaching empathy and mindfulness but actually valuing it–will not happen until WE as adults learn to implement such strategies into our own lives. The mindfulness revolution isn’t a fad; it isn’t a gimmick. In this world of instant gratification and stimulation the threads holding our society together will continue to unravel until we take mindfulness and slowing down seriously. Couple this with what the Dalai Lama said:
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
Why isn’t education being mentioned in the talks about prevention? Because we simply do not respect education in the ways that we need to. Because we see education purely as a means for a job or purely as a means to help us calculate our finances. It’s time not just for education reform; we must reform what it is that we value about education and then what it is we actually NEED to value.
Note: A great book on bringing mindfulness into education is Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thich Nhat Hanh:
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–Photo: AP / A Salvation Army disaster services vehicle drives past a school bus onto the campus of the Franklin Regional School District