I turned on the t.v. the other day to yet another horrible story of a boy in his teens who had randomly killed 8 people in a busy shopping mall, and then turned the gun on himself. Why didn't he just kill himself? was my initial reaction, feeling deeply as if I had indeed lost someone dear in that sad incident. Then I went into "the greater picture" mode as I often do, trying to figure out why. It's been mulling for a few days and this morning I blink open my eyes to some personal, but I'll bet universal perspectives. Here goes:
Please t.v. station owner, managers, directors, please when you report some bad news include a tale of learning from it so that 1. we are not just fed someone else's angry crap which tends to lodge in us somewhere and make us feel helpless; 2. present us with some directly related information so that we can understand what happened?, how did he get this way? Where did he go wrong? Please. And not as a way to justify such unthinkable behavior nor make excuses for him, but as a way to gleam some tid-bit of information on the importance that early years of development and parenting has on us. This is not to make parents feel bad, guilty, wrong. But rather it can give us all a macro perspective of micro events in our early life....and how they DO shape us as growing people in a society.
Please tell us about the young man's early childhood and I'll betcha bottum dolla he was abused in one way or another. This sparks a thought: I've asked, I've suspected and the horrible truth is that lots of people do not think that children birth to 5 or so are affected by what goes on around them "They won't remember" "Theyre' too young to know the difference" Or this classic tale: "I yelled at him and slapped his hands hard yesterday. He's okay now. See, he's listening now . He just told me he loves me. It always happens like this, it's normal."
The truth is a child may or may not remember particular incidents of deep hurt, insult to their personhood or repeated injustices. BUT he does remember how it made him feel, his disappointment and anger, and his helplessness and dependence on his parent(s) to protect and nurture him. These sink deeply to a child's core and become their obstacle to overcome in life. So that they may move on from them and discover and do their great passion. So that they can become a person on their path, happy, productive in whatever way that is for them for the betterment of himself and....you can betcha bottum dolla, for other people, too.
But, no, he'll spend part of his precious life going to a shrink trying to figure out what happened to him and why it matters so much and why he can't shed it. Or, he'll go out and shoot people so that others will take notice of his to-the-core hurt and see that he IS somebody important.
So please t.v. stations, please let us learn something from tragedy. A blurb on his unfortunate childhood (betcha bottum...you know what) might alert a parent out there in the network ethers that perhaps they can find a compassionate way to change there child's behavior, a compassionate way to get him to listen, a compassionate way to be with him. Little incidents do matter. Often they are one of a 'pattern of being with' that can be destructive and can implant in a child a big boo-boo that never heals.
Taking a huge bound backwards in perspective I see that children understand tone of voice and actions long before they understand the spoken word. Do not think that just because a child is pre-spoken language that he does not get 'the message'. Please be in compassionate ways with our children. If you as a parent are still licking your own wounds, please discover this time of parenting as an opportunity to heal those wounds by not passing them along to your children. Be aware. Notice. Begin to practice self-control. Be gentle with your self and every little step forward you take with this process. Know that parenting is a learning process. Know that there are other ways of being with your child that are more effective and leave happy imprints on your child rather than scars. Respect your child as a seed of great potential. Adore this special time in your life.
I once heard the singer Seale say that being a parent is a such a healing experience. If you have children you have been graced with the chance to heal any boo-boo, no matter how small.
With Love and Respect........
Lynda K.M. Treger
Parenting Coach, Creativity Coach, Speech and Language Pathologist, Child Advocate