Susan Lamke, MS PLMHP, Boys Town National Training
In the wake of school tragedies, we are quick to point fingers. We place blame on the system, gun control, the school, fellow students and the family. Rather than focusing on blame, let us focus on preventing more tragedies from happening and helping students who have experienced these tragedies heal. This, however, is no small task.
Where can YOU start? What can YOU do to prevent another tragedy? Start by focusing on the students. You can begin with simple steps by meeting the basic human need of social connection. Everyone wants to belong, to feel a part of a group, family, or community – it is an essential human need. Since the beginning of time, we have gravitated to one another to connect, celebrate, comfort, laugh, cry, love, achieve common goals, learn and simply to belong. Social connectedness not only focuses on the importance of relationships, but relationships based on respect and freedom from humiliation. Unfortunately, youth can be missing this basic need of connectedness and they withdraw from others and are left feeling alone and isolated. While we cannot always predict or control how students are going to act when they feel disconnected, we can control the steps we take to build relationships and positive connections with students.
Simple strategies to get started:
The number one resiliency factor for youth to navigate their way through adolescence successfully is to have at least ONE adult in their corner. Someone who will advocate for, look out for, who fights for, who champions for the youth, especially those youth who are not connected, who are bullied, whose home lives are traumatic.