Sandy Hook Elementary School: a 20 year old walks unchecked into the school and opens fire, killing the Principal, Vice Principal, Psychologist and 18 children, and eventually killing himself….
From this statement observe many things
Nobody noticed/ stopped him
There was indiscriminate violence
There seemed to be no stopping him once he started
He also chose to commit suicide
What evil? How does a guy with no previous records land up committing such a heinous crime?
As Indians we can say: Oh this cannot be found in our schools. These Americans have no value systems…
I have this reply for you my dear Indians, such a scene could become reality, just give yourselves another 10 years.
Why does Violence happen?
I found a great article that analyses the reasons, please read it here
I work with children and I know children are being raised on violence. Yes, raised on violence. Sedentary lives, watching T.V, whiling away time engaged in activities that has no meaning, inadequate and improper relationship with caregivers, easy access to guns/ objects of violence and most importantly in my mind, a de-sensitisation to seeing violent acts and crime being committed.
You may argue that our elders never spared the rod and we were raised on a healthy dose of beatings. But the generation raised on whacks was not exposed to violence like the present generation is and the future generations will be.
Children are watching too much TV, watching blood and gore, bullets being shot easily and mass death. Then they are expected to seamlessly get up and walk away understanding automatically that all this is some man’s (director, script writer, producers) fantasy. Even if you think your children are only watching Doeremon/ Tom and Jerry, there is still a lot of violence they are watching. Just imagine children who are victims of genocide, well…at the cost of sounding too morbid, our children watching excess TV are falling into that category. They are getting de-sensitised to crime, aggression and violence.
I have a very disturbing story to tell: I conduct sessions for children, teaching them life skills through stories. There I found 2 girls, obviously having space issues with each. So I had to stop my per-planned session, to investigate where and what was making them so uncomfortable with each other. The usual complaints of she is not giving me space, slowly unraveled previous fights and maladjustment, and to my horror, one of them shares that she hit the other with a dumbbell, and only a little blood came out from the other’s finger, while the other person had whacked her on the back, and that is a bigger hurt….
This may not look very serious to some, but at a deeper level, it really bothers me that children don’t feel anything when they hurt another, even to the extent of drawing blood. That made me question how de-sensitised this generation is to acting with violence. This comes in the context of children, being left on their own in the company of the convenient baby sitter TV, watching Mega serials and such nonsense and with adults having no discrimination on what to share or discuss with their children.
What can be done?
AWARENESS: Lets be aware of how Anger and suppressed aggression can cause havoc in life.
We have to actively learn, and teach our children to understand this emotion called Anger. Anger is not bad, but what we do with it is definitely in our hands. That goes for many emotions
LISTEN: We have to listen to our children, hear them with out reacting. Create an atmosphere of trust that enables him/ her to talk with out feeling discriminated, condemned and prejudiced.
TALK: Communicate, talk and create a bond with our children. Trust is an important value, an asset that has to be nurtured, cultivated, and carefully, possessively guarded. Let them talk, help them talk, talk to them.
Simple, very simple...
Even a child raised under difficult circumstances can grow on such a rich foundation.
The bottom line: LOVE. The simplest most effective tool to use with children is to give them an abundance of Love, Show them, tell them, demonstrate to them, share with them. Show loving behaviour and your child will surely emulate you as a default mechanism and will resist resorting to violence/ aggression as a means to solve problems.
It starts from us, every adult taking ownership for him/ herself and their behaviour.
I hope I can shout it out to those many parents, teachers, and people working with children. Show Love, and you will only receive Love. It may require great patience, but isn't that what we need to practice at all times, for a better future?