After some quiet time on Sunday mornings, my husband and I enjoy watching the news magazine show Sunday Morning On CBS, now hosted by the gracious Jane Pauley. We’ve sipped our coffee, watching and discussing the subject matter of hundreds of shows going back to when the late and curmudgeonly Charles Karault was the host. The stories are sometimes about thought-provoking current events and people who affect many lives, but they also present pieces that touch the heart, amuse, inspire or just make you think about something in a different way. The show also sprinkles in commentary from bright and wry comedians like Jim Gaffigan and Faith Salie. And to end it all, they close with a 30 second video of pure nature.

All in all, it’s a refreshing and stimulating way to begin the new week.

This week, they covered the March For Our Lives rally, showing how committed and adamant these young people are that “business as usual” with the NRA lobbying for no change in the gun laws is no longer going to cut it if politicians are hoping to get enough votes in the future to stay in office. I’ve never really understood why the NRA is so against making some changes in the law. Is there really any need for a citizen to have an assault weapon or to not have a reasonable waiting period and metal-health check before buying a firearm, especially if it means doing bodily damage to others?

Then they shifted the segment to one of the victim’s father’s who was insistent that schools needed metal detectors to stop the violence. When I was a kid back in the mid-west, school was my safe place to avoid my less than ideal home life. How sad that a place of learning has to be treated like a fortress and that today’s children are going to school with an underlying fear that their lives could be in danger.

Both of these outward changes are valuable and definitely have the potential to be life saving. But as I finished watching the program, my mind wandered back to another parent who had lost a child during a school massacre. Her suggestion could actually shift the paradigm of how people treat one another. She suggested mandatory classes in civility, where children are taught how to treat one another with kindness and respect. These would start in kindergarten and continue up through senior year in high school.

So much of this violence stems from bullying. Since some parents can’t, don’t or won’t spend the time working with their children on how to treat one another civilly, then having the schools make it part of the curriculum seems like another viable part of a solution toward ending violence.

This kind of course could be beneficial in addressing so many issues aside from violence. It could be the catalyst for re-evaluating what we think of as success. Over the last few decades, young people, especially, are becoming more enamored with fame and celebrities, and how to get to that lifestyle. Take that infatuation to the extreme and the idea of shooting up a school to be “remembered” is not so far fetched. It’s happened, more than once.

But what if the paradigm was to change and our concept of success was based on acts of altruism? What if from an early age the qualities of honesty, kindness, tolerance and empathy were taught and celebrated and became the measure of one’s success? Maybe this thinking is somewhat naïve, but before the last millennium did we every think our kids would need metal detectors in schools to protect them from mass murders on campuses? Maybe it’s time we think about the impossible being possible. Maybe it’s time to think beyond “this is the way it is” and change to “this is the way it could be.” We could teach kids to be more conscious of the benefits of being kind. Think about it. What have we got to loose?

If you have a comment or an idea that addresses this subject, please leave it here. We learn from each other.

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