We are all hurting, praying, mad, sad, upset. So many school shootings. Now another one. Sometimes it feels like this world is so evil and there is nothing we can do. I promise, this is not going to be a political rant. It is actually a challenge to us all. I think there is something we can do and I think it's time as Gandhi said to "Be the change you wish to see in the world." I do agree, we all need to get more active in helping our politicians with gun control and more money for mental health. But what can we do on an individual level?
Let's be the light. When you see someone hurting at work, in your neighborhood, in your home, don't ignore it. It's hard, especially with teens who can be so prickly at times, but I promise, they want you to hug them, help them and they don't know how to verbalize it. With your coworkers and other adults around you, put yourself out there, ask them why they are down and what you can do to help them. For myself as a pediatrician I need to continue to actively search out those teens that are sad, stressed, anxious and depressed and make sure they get help. As I've written about in earlier blogs, at least 40% of our patients are anxious and at least mildly depressed. There are not enough counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists to go around. Most of our kiddos have to wait 1-2 months or more to get into a counselor. It's a big problem.
We all get busy with work, family commitments, etc but let's make sure we notice what is going on around us. Say hi to those in your neighborhood, at work, and really look around and notice how people are doing. The hard thing is you don't want to "butt in" but better to "butt in" and get a cold shoulder than to ignore someone who is really hurting. Would people really be upset if we said, "I'm praying for you," or "I'm here for you." I don't think so.
Let's be intentional about our parenting. It's hard but say no or limit social media, monitor what your kids are doing online, limit their electronic time. You're not their friend until they graduate, you're their parent and you need to protect them. Spend time with your teens without electronics (that means mom and dad put away their electronics too). Find common ground, play a board game, do a puzzle, listen to your kids music--really! Let your kids be the dj in the car or at home-because of Zack I know and actually enjoy so many rap artists, Jake and I loved Lincoln Park, Jess has share K.pop with me, and I don't know how many times Chelsea has played the Hamilton soundtrack for us. Whatever you can do to spend time with your teens, do it.
I don't know if this post is helpful or not. But this is my intention. Not to give up, not to check my emails in line at Starbucks or the grocery store, not to tune out at home. Notice, be kind, say a kind word, and be the light!!