Let’s work backwards … shall we?
Another young person has turned to an extreme act of violence in order to rid himself of his tortured paranoid thoughts. His fearful thinking, which was no doubt shaped by his life’s challenges and nurtured by our current toxic culture, causes him agitation to the point where he can no longer fight his darkest impulses. His painful thoughts push him to destroy himself by destroying others; and because he is so disconnected from his human heart, it’s No Big Deal.
All of these young (let’s be honest) men, who perpetrate these atrocious acts, have come to believe that they are separate and disconnected from their fellow human beings. They believe they are entirely on their own, without hope for a better future. Their fears are riled up by amoral “personalities” and voices vying for attention who preach the message that their troubles are the fault of the “Other.” The young man’s fear turns to anger and then to rage, and then to the out-of-control behavior that “shocks” us all. Their fears have broken them.
When will we stop being left to just react to these unspeakable acts? Only when we start preventing them … all of them! Of course we must control the guns, but we also must get to the source of the rage that drives these young people to become mass murderers, terrorists, gang members — the horrific labels go on and on.
What’s problematic for our kids these days?
Whirlwinds of Social Media Rubbish and Hate? Check.
Romanticized Violence in Games, Film, Music, etc.? Check.
Ever-mounting pressure to perform and conform? Check.
Leaders that encourage them to judge and hate their neighbor? Check.
Unfettered access to weapons designed to end life? Check.
Add a pinch of bullying, a dash of trauma, and top it all off with some unrelenting bad news about what their future holds, and there you have it — a recipe for a broken soul.
All of these factors, along with countless others, have created an epidemic of anxiety and depression within our youth. Our children are becoming hopeless in the wake of the endless fear-mongering, and the exhausting challenge of trying to swim against such a relentless current. In a few short years, these kids grow into adults and are set adrift, dreading this adventurous voyage called Life, but just hoping to keep afloat in a terrifying stormy sea of existence. Do they have the strength to control their own panic to keep themselves from drowning? Will they make it to shore? Will they save themselves and rescue others along the way?
The answer depends on us — ALL of us! When each of us begins to take action to shift the consciousness of our kids from fear to love, they will find a more grounded center. They will strive to create more peace and joy for themselves and others, and begin to write a new chapter for humanity.
Every one of us can change the life of a child by making sure that they understand that they are here for a reason. ASK them if they understand that their anxiety is not an illness, but part of the human experience. TELL them that they are smart and that life may be hard, but they are tough! REMIND them that they are filled with unique gifts, and one day they will find those gifts and use them to help a hurting world. SHARE with them that their dreams are important. ASSURE them that they are loved. TEACH them not to be afraid of their fellow human beings, but to seek to understand them, and how fear and pain can drive humans to terrible behavior, so they can find empathy instead of hate.
Nothing will have more impact than to focus our energy on building strong, loving and mentally healthy children! We cannot and will not allow any child to be broken by fear.