Protecting children is a parent’s prerogative.
While the cold reality is parents cannot protect kids from getting hurt by the world.
Parents can, and should, prepare their kids for the world.
Even though I’ve learned a lot from the school of hard knocks, I would have learned more had my parents lived out this practical imperative.
Had my divorced parents been less self-obsessed with ‘living their new lives’, they could have nurtured us into maturity through the lessons their new lives offered us.
Had they been more engaged — had they not divorced themselves from the healing power of nurturing — my parents should have guided us through the world they turned upside down.
Instead, we were left to be raised by our peers. Then told as we entered adulthood, “you’re the government’s problem now”.
One father of two not abandoning his kids to the concrete jungle, is Jason Brick.
In his recent Insider piece on school shootings, Brick said, “our children’s safety is our responsibility, and we have the final authority to protect them”.
He says parents cannot rely on government, police, or the schools to act.
Speaking about preparing kids for school shootings, Brick encouraged parents to get informed, writing:
“Good safety policy starts with understanding the unique needs and vulnerabilities of each building. If our district doesn’t do that, our level of responsibility increases.”
Mums, and dads not being able to be there all the time to protect their kids, doesn’t mean parents are helpless.
The answer is research and preparation.
“Assess school policies and grounds, teach our children age-appropriate concepts, and practice lifesaving skills with them.”
There’s plenty parents can do to help their kids save themselves, and potentially save others. Brick stated:
“While high-school wrestlers are more able than kindergarteners to protect themselves during a school shooting, even young kids have the power to increase their odds of survival.”
“Our job is to help show them what power they have and encourage them to use it when needed.”
Avoid, Deny, Defend
Having had enough of a culture too comfortable with relying on failing authorities, the family safety expert encouraged parents to step up.
Rather than teach kids to ‘run, hide, fight,’ his alternative is ‘escape, deny, attack’ – otherwise known as ‘Avoid, Deny, Defend.’
Escape means being aware of your surroundings. Running ‘doesn’t provide a destination.’
Deny is much better than hiding. Locking doors, and barricading paths is a way to actively resist the gun-toting bully.
Hiding is passive, and doesn’t keep potential victims away from the shooter.
Attack infers a pro-active defence by any means necessary. Whereas fight implies being concerned with fairness, which can compromise survival.
Hence ‘Escape, Deny and Attack’s’ superiority over ‘Run, Hide, Fight.’
Above all, Brick stated, “talk early and talk often” with kids about the reality of the dangers they could face.
The father of two lamented parents opting of out of talking with their kids for fear of scaring them.
His response? Kids are already aware of the dangers, and are already worried about their safety at school. He explained:
“By the time children are old enough to understand the concept, they’re already worrying about it.”
“It’s much better for us to show them that we take their fears seriously, and have come up with some solutions.”
Brick’s parenting advice is well timed, given Sandy Hook, the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the more recent transgender terrorist attack on a Christian school in Nashville, killing 6.
The nuggets of wisdom in Brick’s counsel are transferrable.
This is nurturing 101.
Whether children are affected by sporadic school shootings by unhinged individuals, or struggling to cope with inappropriate access to social media, such as TikTok.
Brick’s pro-active stance on protecting kids through preparation pivots on good, honest, and clear communication.
Nurturing kids into adulthood, before handing them adult responsibilities, is a parent’s primary duty of care.
As I wrote in January, 2022, the best way to protect our kids, is to prepare them for life’s curveballs.
It is not our job as parents to protect our kids from life. It is our job as parents to prepare our kids for life.
Photo by Christoforos Christodoulou.
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