I just got off the phone talking with a very concerned mother and friend of mine. She had just dropped off a reluctant child at school. Based on our conversation, I wanted to share some personal thoughts about the school violence that is horribly affecting our children these days and in recent months. I think we are at a critical time, but what a better time to teach our children how their voices can be heard; how their creative solutions might just be the answer we are looking for. We can teach them about the process of our government and law. We can use this time to heal the fear and let them voice their feelings, ideas, solutions and opinions to law makers. Positive re-action in a healing and compassionate way. And, another chord was struck in our discussion, I thought about how businesses that have the ability to directly influence our younger citizens can help facilitate such action.
It’s more than obvious we are living in an increasingly more violent age. The serious uptick in ‘school shootings’ around the Country is extremely troubling and, perhaps, indicative of a deeper problem in society. What’s more troubling was the recent second-degree felony arrest of a local 11-year-old who vocalized similar threats of violence to classmates. Reacting to the horrific events taking place, schools are instituting measures that increase backpack restrictions, introduce metal detectors and mandatory lunch box inspections, and bring on more armed guards to school premises. These measures are creating widespread fear, angry rallies, boycotts and panic. It is a time of confusion for students, parents, teachers…really, for all of us.
Mental health issues aside, I truly believe how we, the American business owners, react to such violence gives us an incredible opportunity to lead. Our responses to such horrific acts will determine how we influence our students, the future leaders of America. Instead of creating more fear, we should consider positive reactions to the violence we see. Politicians, law-makers, teachers, coaches, parents, and business owners need to lead our youth, not incite them or alienate them.
It’s a big task, but one we can accomplish if we work together and stay committed to the cause of education. We need to tell our children the facts. We need to teach compassion, healing and hope, send them constructive messages. It’s a time to be open and honest, to communicate with all affected parties, not hide, point fingers or create adverse responses. We could hold vigils, write compassionate letters to the families, explain what positive social media posts look like, show by example how communities come together to heal. We need to reduce the anxiety and fear, not create more of it.
As business leaders, we have some obligation to the society in which we do business. No doubt, we are constantly thinking about our corporate messaging and evaluating the products we sell. Imagine if we used our leadership positions to teach and lead our youth to be better people. Remember, we attract what we focus on. If we teach and lead the way to compassion and what that looks like, we will have more of that and less violence, less angst, less hysteria. I call it a corporate aura of ‘honor and healing.’ Companies that can directly affect our younger generation might consider honoring those who help to protect us in a way that does not create more violence, more angst, more hysteria. This would help immensely with the healing process for those who are clearly suffering. I remain convinced that businesses can be part of the solution. At the very least, business leaders might consider....