By BARBARA ESTEVES-MOORE
Any parent of a high school student, or any age child for that matter, has probably had a few moments in the last week when they thought, “what if…”
“What if … the next time it’s my child’s school?”
“What if … the next time it’s my child?”
“What if … I get that call?”
As parents of teenagers we have many, many things to worry about. I wish we didn’t have to worry about this. My parents didn’t worry about this.
The fact that I haven’t said the words — guns, school shooting, teens killed, teachers killed — but you know exactly what I’m talking about means that this is too important to not talk about. I don’t want to write a column about my beliefs on the issues. I want to ask everyone to please stop for a moment and just listen.
I don’t mean listen to the TV or your social media feed. I mean really listen to the people around you. For so long we have not been listening to each other. I get all worked up and start talking about what I think is wrong and how I think it should be fixed but I don’t listen to my brother who feels very differently. But we both have one child – one girl. We both would do anything to keep our girls and each other’s girls safe. Why can’t we talk about this issue?
If my brother and I, who love each other and each other’s children dearly, can’t talk about this how can we expect our lawmakers and our presidents to talk about this? Everyone has their arguments down pat. I know all mine and I know all the other side’s arguments. So, can we put those aside for a moment and just listen? Can we try to understand each other and figure out a way to move forward so that no body has to worry about this again?
We bash on this generation of teens a lot. We complain about their over use of social media. We complain about their over-indulgent upbringings. We complain that they are disconnected and disinterested. But they are talking right now, and I think we all need to stop and listen to what they are saying.
I feel ashamed that someone less than half my age has the bravery to stand up and say something about what she needs from the adults in her world and I can’t even talk to family members about my beliefs. So, before we begin working on the real work of solving this horrid problem (and there is real hard work to do on this), can we just stop for a minute and listen to each other? Can we listen to our teens? Can we listen to both sides? Can we even just have a kind discussion?
Then, can we take some real meaningful action so that the only thing I need to worry about when my daughter leaves for school is her driving safely, her doing ok on her test and her not eating all carbs for lunch. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that is all we had to worry about?
Now I have to go call my brother …
Barbara Esteves-Moore is a journalist, editor and the owner of Two Roads Communications. She has been married for 20 years and is the mother of an active, opinionated and very lively 16-year-old. You can reach her at email@example.com.