Friday last

In this world of instant communication, it is possible to keep some very personal things from public view, if only for a little while.

This gives time to reflect, to grieve, to wonder and to garner your thoughts into a coherent pattern, choosing what you wish the “public” face to reflect.

For this post, I have turned off every possible sharing site (or tried to at least). These are thoughts on the state of our schools, our children, our future.

Every day we hear of more school shootings. Children killing children; teenagers killing teenagers. We hear the cry about gun control. Guns do not kill children. Children kill children; children bully each other. At a very early age, if one is trained to see the red flags, they are there. You just have to know how to read them. The downcast eyes; the sighs; the flopping on the couch stating it was the worst Christmas ever; the fighting; the being first; the bigger child pushing ahead of the smallest among them; the overriding little things left without correction turning perhaps to something bigger.

Then there are the parents who push the child beyond what is bearable. To be the best; to be first; to be president of every club; to be liked and respected and looked up to by peers, teachers and most of all perhaps their friends. They can say “My son……………”

What are we doing to our future? What can we not “do over”; where does it stop? What is reversible?

I no longer believe in the education system; the government has intruded into all the tiny cracks of our lives, not to open them up so the light can get in (Cohen), but to close them off so that all become dependent on big government. The beginning of “Big Brother”; 1984 come to life in the here and now.

A very bright senior at the top of almost everything, a few months from graduating, on Friday,ย  homecoming weekend, stayed home from school and shot himself. Is there a why in all of this? None that I am aware of, however, I am an outsider watching the pain, palpable and real.

Excitement had been building all day anticipating the weekend events and then a cloud of rumors, whispers, furtive looks.The announcement to gather in the Community area; classes huddling together waiting. The silence so eerie; the sobbing so quietly, wondering and waiting to hear; stunned, not caring that everything planned for the weekend, cancelled.

Only 40 students in the graduating class; the Captain, the President gone…thirty-nine students sitting in shocked silence. No one could fill the void; the next few months to get through; a rip in the cloth of their being for the rest of their lives.

The sky was bright and blue and the weather was cold; they stood by the large, brick sign where all the flowers slowly accumulated. Were there signs? Who missed them? Who failed to train the teachers on what to look for in their interaction with their students every day.

Not only do teachers need to know their subject matter but also how to read the signs of distress tearing the soul of the individual apart until they can only see one way out…death.

This is a lot to expect from teachers who are already over extended, however, having been trained to read the red flags, I expect this and am wounded when those expectations fall far short of what is.

The invisibility factor arises again; knowing my broad background; they thought they did not need me.

Driving home; thinking about life and what it means I reached some conclusions:

Ordinary people make up the majority of mankind.

Extra Ordinary people are rare….I do not mean to take away from the billionaires….I do not count them as extra ordinary. I think of how they may have stolen their ideas from their roommate or others…these are folk who prey on other folk…they are not rare; they are business sleuths; the dollar means more than the real stuff of life.

Those who are rare are the thinkers who go silently about doing what is right trying to change what is into what could be.

This is as far as I could see except for the question that kept playing in my head: So this is all there is?

Please do not tweet or share, if you read this. Your thoughts are welcome. Perhaps it will help me sort through the layers here.

17 thoughts on “Friday last

  1. I agree with you that parents and teachers should notice behaviors in children early and get them the help they need. So many parents have problems themselves that they can’t or won’t get their children help. It is not guns that kill. It is mentally and emotionally ill people.

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    • Thanks, Betty, for commenting. I agree with you. However, in agreeing I cannot rule out other factors. It is a mufti-layered problem. We do need a village to raise a child, don’t you think?

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  2. Miss Linda, sometimes I wonder if you are empathic to emotions. I’m not sure the mystical term for it, but I am an emotional empathic. I feel the emotions and feelings of the people around me and/or the stories I hear. Many times, if someone is in the same room with me, I can tell you what they are feeling inside even if they’re hiding it. Because, I can feel their emotions. Sometimes, it’s difficult to decipher my own emotions, from another person’s emotions that I’m picking up on. I wonder if this is happening to you. Hugs.

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    • I wrote a long reply and then it disappeared!
      Yes, I think all my life I could feel the emotions of the people around me or from stories I read or heard. I internalized their emotions merging them with mine. It takes a toll on my energy and many times I stay away from crowds not wanting to have all these feelings accumulating within and draining all my emotional energy. There was and is not enough left for those who are my friends or family.
      I never wondered why but would sometimes wonder why “others” did not feel or see what I saw.
      Either is a curse or a gift. At times both.
      Thanks for commenting, here, Lori. Stay warm for your Florida winter.

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  3. This is so sad. I don’t know what to say. I certainly don’t want to take part in the American gun laws debate.

    The teenage suicidal rate is on the raise here, and elsewhere. Each and every one of them is such an immense tragedy, that leaves so many people with questions and insurmountable feelings of guilt.

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    • Thank you Rebekah for your comment. I try not to involve myself in the gun debate, however, I do believe in our constitution.
      Suicide is something closer to my thoughts. I had a nephew who committed suicide beside the road on the way home; another suicide occurred in our small school….a young man in my brother’s class hung himself in their barn….I could go on, however, I always wonder why. If somehow we could know and ask them to think about it one more day, perhaps the sun the next morning would make things seem better. Ah, the human brain.
      Again, thank you for your thoughts.

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  4. Coming from a family that is almost entirely involved in the mental health system (I am the outlier but did work at the hospital on the acute intake ward for four summers and a year), it is simply not that easy to spot a potential suicide from any other depressed or manic or non-affect individual. Yes, if someone says: “I want to kill myself”, attention must be paid, immediately, but if they don’t? I am slow to blame teachers or parents in these cases for missing signs unless something comes out during the investigation. I also don’t blame the parents of the school shooters until and unless real indicators are shown to have been in existence that an observant person should have seen. As for the gun laws, I too believe in the Constitution but unless this young man shot himself with the gun of someone in a militia (National Guard) I question the ease with which he was able to find it. I do think if the gun and ammunition was in plain site, the gun owner bears significant responsibility. Yes he might have killed himself another way, but almost any other way is longer and more difficult. Perhaps that would have given him the moment to pull back.

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    • Thank you, Robert, for your perspective on suicide. Having as much knowledge as you have (even as an outlier) gives credibility to your analysis of this situation.

      Teaching psychology for years is quite different from working on a psy ward.

      The young man was home and there has been no information about the gun or how he obtained one. This has been kept from the news media for fear of having copy cat suicides.

      The persons I knew who committed suicide had been involved with a recent break up with their girlfriends. I do not know if this could cause a psychotic break or “I cannot go on…” syndrome. Depression seemed to be the underlying cause (my opinion).

      Whenever I observe someone young depressed, I always want to know why and to what extent. It has been a red flag but as you point out we should not rush to judgment on teachers or parents. Perhaps there is nothing out of the normal to observe. I really do not know and I do not think that anyone else really knows either.

      Thank you again for your comment. It provides a different perspective for me to contemplate.

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  5. I do not know the answers to some of these dilemmas in our society. So I shall keep vigil with the questions along with you, Linda, and pray for those who are hurting so badly.

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