by Carol Brennan King April 14, 2018
The teacher said “Duck and Cover.” That meant that we were to slide down under our desks, curl up and cover our heads and necks with a book or jacket or our hands. So we did, even if way back then, I just did not see how that was going to protect me very well from a bomb blast that was big enough to blow the windows out of my classroom. Remember my maiden name was Brennan and forever I was in that first row beside the windows.
I guess the powers that be finally recognized the hiding under our desk thing was not all that effective, and they marched us out into the hall between the two sides of the building – no windows there, only a glass and wooden door at the other end. And we were safe!?
All of that came to me in the middle of the night when in my brain, there was a confluence of two issues: the bombing of Syria, again, and the fearful response by some I saw on Facebook. The other thing that floated to the surface of my brain around 2am was the conjecture across our country about how to protect kids in classrooms now, from the possible attacks by deranged and armed people.
It occurred to me that the suggestions I had seen recently, arming kids with stones and teachers with baseball bats are about as effective as our exercises all those decades ago of curling up under our desks. I wonder if hiding under the desk would be more effective today than expecting children to defend themselves with rocks.
But that’s not my point. My point is this, I had no power as a child to keep Communist Russia from dropping bombs anywhere their heart desired. I wonder too if kids with stones or rocks or even teachers with guns could stop a deranged person intent on gunning down the innocent.
It seems to me that to fix this problem we have to start back before there is a problem to fix. That means changing some of our behaviors, adults and children alike. And to change any behavior, you have to change minds. Actions do result from beliefs.
I wonder how much of our problem goes back to a simple memory verse from Sunday School, a memory verse that goes back to the quiet words Jesus spoke to his followers when He knew His time was short on this earth. “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
If we loved one another and taught our children to love others, maybe no child, or at least fewer children, would sit alone at lunch or play alone in the corner of the playground. Or sit alone late at night in front of the glare of a computer screen. No child would go to school hungry or cold or without the books and papers and pens needed to do school work.
No mentally ill child or child the product of mentally ill parents or learning disabled child or child scarred in any way whether by abuse or neglect would be labeled, as if somehow that qualified as an excuse to ignore his or her needs. (I do have lots of friends in the mental health, education, and social service fields, but they cannot do it by themselves.) Labels are not excuses to diminish, but they should be tools that guide us to provide the right kind of help, the right spelling of love.
I can hear some of you dear readers say “I can’t fix all that.”
It’s true, you can’t fix all that. The question is “What can you fix?” And “What can you do to help those on the front lines – the teachers and child care workers and social workers? And Sunday School teachers?
How is love spelled?
We have to stop seeing people who look different that we do, who smell different than we do, who dress different than we do, even who behave differently from the way we do as our brothers and sisters in different clothes. We have to think through how love is spelled to them? How does love add up to them? How does love sound to them?
And we cannot, nor can our families, make a difference to all of them. But maybe it might help if we just started looking around for one person who isn’t sure how love is spelled or sounds like or adds up to, and show them.
OK, I will get off my soapbox. I am just sharing what went through my mind when I could not sleep last night at 2am, but maybe some of these words might resonate with some of you.
Photo 3 from https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/2694.html