A few weeks ago, when the topic of student walk outs was raised, a friend of mine stated how much in support of it he was. Many people also commented, agreeing with his point of view – I, however, countered with the statement that it doesn’t send the message that he thought it does.
As a mother, one of my greatest responsibilities in life is to raise healthy, well adjusted, self-sufficient, honoring, God-led, contributors to society, capable of taking full ownership for their own lives, and being responsible to the people in their own communities (family, school, church, work, city). What I have seen and read is actually being communicated through these walk-outs, both verbally and non-verbally, is not as overwhelmingly positive as some might perceive. Were my daughter to ask me about taking part in the walk out, these are the touch points we would cover:
*You, my child, are the greatest opportunity for you to see the change you long for within your community. Never has a generation had such a wealth of knowledge, resources and influence as our youth today. What can YOU to do encourage safety within your school community? (Invite WATCHDogs to your campus, anti-bullying campaigns, student-led legislature to deal with bullying hands on and to promote community for ALL students, fundraising for classroom lockdown safety kits, etc).
*Students who take a stand to pray for one another come before school or linger after (ie Meet You At the Pole). To disrupt class time and buck against the very system and parameters designed to help you be successful does nothing to create actual formative change. (I guarantee no politician is moved by your stance – you don’t currently pay his bills). It only teaches you that when you want to be heard, the only acceptable manner is to interrupt (and I feel like we pretty much covered that misbehavior when you were about 2).
*You DO have a voice, and my job, our job, as adults, is to teach you how to effectively and successfully use it.
*To merely walk out without a plan of viable action, and to restate over and over that “someone” needs to do something is to communicate that;
A: You are helpless to bring effective change within your community,
B: The government is the only entity capable of solving our community challenges, and
C: You expect broken people to honor legal parameters, but you yourselves are not required to.
*My sweet girl, I want you safe regardless of where you are – home, school, church, the mall – and my job is to do all I can to keep you safe. AND, it is my job to train you up in the way that you should go. YOU will learn how to be watchful, to be responsible with your words and choices, to practice effective self-defense, and to grow up knowing that you are not helpless to the whims and temporary solutions outlined by a few elite politicians.
*YOU, my child, being a follower of Jesus and an advocate for your own communities, will bring about the greatest and most effective social and societal change through your own choices, decisions and ACTIONS in order to better serve your fellow man.
So, go to class, and find others willing to collaborate and make the greatest possible change you can for your community.
In calamity, when others walk out – WE walk in.
Let’s set up a meeting with your principal and see what we can do together to bring about a better safety plan for your school. We can do research to determine the most viable way for our own community to keep everyone safe and learn how we can empower not only ourselves, but those around us, to do the same. I will support, encourage, direct and help implement these steps to the greatest of my ability.
And, when I can’t, you will find the strength within yourself and come to a full realization that children really ARE our future.