It should never be that our children are afraid to go to school. But they are. Not for the reasons we feared at their age. Not for the social awkwardness. Not for the test so woefully prepared for. Not for wearing the wrong clothes. Not for anxiety over public speaking. Not for the horror of social anxiety some of us experience and some of our children face daily. Those fears have been around forever. They were mine. They were my parents. Before that, I’m not sure, as before that school was neither a requirement nor a guarantee.
But fear for one’s life, that is unfathomable to me. And yet it is daily the life of my children. It is a bizarre and morbid reality of our young people today. It is life-altering. It is ambition-killing. It is opioid-driving. It is their reality. And it is a problem for us all, and the blame falls directly on us.
There are times when laws need changing. There are some things far greater than our rights. It’s just February 14th, and already there have been 8 school shootings in this country resulting in death or injury.
And when I speak with my children, there is hopelessness. There is no answer. There are mental health issues we won’t address. Families we won’t support. Disenfranchised people we won’t reach out to. We continue to differentiate between us and them even though our fates are completely reliant on each other. We shelter in place, and yet we have no shelter at all from what we have created.