Sunday, December 16, 2012

Here we go again

I'm in shock about what happened in Connecticut.  I don't think there was anything that could have been done to prevent that except A LOT of things.  Our poor country is so concerned with consumerism and money, that we stigmatize everyone.  We claim to be multi-everything but we really do is compartmentalize all.  Someone fits into this box or that box.  And if you don't, well sorry, we can't help you with that.  I see it everyday, people are not getting what they need (particularly the youth in this country....and especially if you are low income).  They are castaways, they are misfits, they are "crazy".

I'm not going to talk to you about how angry this latest round of school shooting makes me.  Is it the fact that these are just little kids?  Is it the fact that the teachers reacted to protect their students at any cost?  Is it that the news will clearly put more focus on "if it bleeds it leads"?  I don't know.

But what if, our government officials, our top minds, and our top financial wizards put more money, services, and study to creating programs where kids got exactly what they needed, and provided mental and health services for everyone, without question? What if teachers were really treated like professionals, and therefore given manageable workloads?  What if kids were allowed to study a curriculum that allowed them to create and think, rather than sit and pass a test?

I hope this country wakes up to the insane gun laws, and changes the 2nd amendment, it needs to happen, no doubt about that.  However, we need to all take steps to come together in our own communities and share our own experiences with our neighbors, our schools, and out local officials.  That's the only way to be united.  What do I need in my community?  What does it take to be apart of something that?  What kind of gestures go a long way to create a kinder, gentler, open community?

I am an art teacher that teaches the "throw-a-way" kids of our community.  I don't treat them as such, I treat them with respect.  I treat them how I want to be treated.  Sometimes that's not enough.  Sometimes they need more than my actions inside my classroom.  They need support in their community, they need someone they can count on, they need creative ways to find their voice instead of finding violence.  They need to understand ways they can move through society that creates boundaries and boxes for them.

This holiday season, I hope that we can all take time to reflect on these issues of our community and our country. I hope that we can resolve to be better people, to offer help when help is needed, to commit to going out into the world with our best intentions.  And when times are difficult or filled with pressure, to remember to take each situation as it is, moment by moment and realize that we are all connected to each other in one way or another.

But most of all remember that we're all human, living, breathing beings.  And if we treat each other as such, then we'll be ok.

I'll leave you with quote from His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

                       -  If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.

And again, from Ghandi-

Be the change you want to see in this world.

Om shanti, namaste.