Trigger Warning: Violence
It has been a draining weekend with news of shootings nipping at our heels. It seems that these violences, motivated by hate, have become as common as brewing morning coffee. It's hard to turn anger and fear into productivity while we are healing over and over again, especially when change seems so distant.
As a Jew, I personally worry about my daughter and what the future will bring for her, if one day someone decides that her life is not valuable. I am invested in influencing her and the children in her life towards acceptance and respect.
More importantly, it is my job as a postpartum doula, to ensure that after a baby has entered the world, they are safe and continue to be as such.
Although violence seems to be dominating our culture, there are some actions we can take as parents, while our hands are unfortunately tied in the gun reform department.
Thoughts and prayers are not enough
Though they are wonderful and healing. Calling your legislature and having a productive phone conversation is a harder push. If everyone called, voicemails would overflow with informed constituent messages. Then we might be able to push the conversation upwards! Don’t know how to talk to your senator or congressperson? Read this!
America has a problem with hatred, and men seem to be the ones most often acting out that hate. There, I said it.
It might seem overly simple, but we need to be having conversations with our sons, showing them physical and emotional love, and being an example of tolerance. We need to identify early violent warning signs and nip anger problems quickly. What to watch for?—Bullying (being both bullied and bullying--cyber and real life), violence towards animals, reclusion, acting out, visiting websites with messages of violence, etc. To learn more about how to identify the signs, read here.
Have a family plan
It can't hurt to have an exit strategy during festivals, while visiting theme parks, cinemas, and other places crowded with strangers. That strategy plan might simply be to designate the nearest safe place and how to get there as a family.
Be the ongoing eyes and ears for your community.
Law enforcement is usually the last to be alerted when a violence occurs. They are the bandaid placed over a wound that already exists. Look out for your neighbors and identify early warning signs mentioned above. Be there for your neighbors because they are the ones we turn to when times get difficult.
Get involved in your community. It's true that the actions we take ripple outwards. If we engage in showing our kids we are listening, invested, and care, we are creating a space for communication.