Since December 2012 in Newton CT, there has been at least 142 major shootings in America. At least 74 of which were on school grounds. Lives, ended forever. No more sons, no more daughters, no more laughter and family gatherings, no more hopeful promises of futures untold for those that have since lost their lives to senseless acts of violence.
Some blame guns, some blame mental issues, some blame the laws in this country. And while the jury is out for many on how to handle this ever growing issue of violence, there is one thing so glaringly obvious. Nothing is being done...
The Path We Take TM and The Personal Journeys Project is an attempt to tackle a much bigger issue at hand, where some eventually reach a personal breaking point and do things that seem so out of character. Those being bullied, those in fear of coming out for being ridiculed or much worse, for those that have such low self-esteem they would rather act out on some silly thought or irrational conclusion, nothing is being done on a bigger scale to give guidance to these seemingly helpless young souls.
We can fight over the guns, the laws, the medications and how to best deliver us from these atrocities from happening again. But the crux of the issue is that NOTHING is being put into affect. A good friend of mine (a teacher) said recently "I try to leave them alone when they cry, try to not get involved" And although I understand completely, this is also a large part of the issue at hand. No one seems to be going out of their way to care, to show that these kids lives matter.
Someone suffering from low self-esteem requires the personal daily medicine of the reassurance that they matter. To ignore this person, to allow them to wallow in their sorrows (no matter how silly they may seem) is not a good thing by any means. But to pick them up mentally, by showing that they are doing well, or that you have noticed them today, changes things dramatically I have discovered. Individuals that typically keep to themselves, become more outgoing and happier students, when simply giving them a moment of your time to show you care or that you have noticed them. Taking them out of the class for a moment, to let them know they matter, that you are there for them in whatever capacity you can be and that other resources are available to them within the school that possibly they didn’t know about.
There are some very solid initial steps we can take to help bolster the mental strength of our youth. Turning a blind eye, I say, is a part of our overall problem. Too many are turning a blind eye and too many are dying (and of course, even 1 is too many).
At this point I am not just talking about school shootings alone, but all the ways in which we lose our youth, including suicide. We need to pay more attention to the sometimes very obvious signs that are around us at all times as teachers and parents and as a society. We need to open our hearts, open our minds and consider the concept that someone might simply require us to be there for a moment in a deeper capacity than just telling some kid to “pull themselves together and lets move on.” Obviously, something here is broken, it needs to be fixed and fast before we lose the very core of our humanity that we should all bring to this world - Caring for one another, looking out for each other, lifting another up.
Nipping this in the bud would be an ideal way to go about this in my book. And while they argue about the guns, argue about the laws or medications, WE DO SOMETHING. Create a resource so undeniably simple and effective, that everyone, not just in these United States, but everyone, young and old might have a resource of hope, of understanding and guidance to be there as a safety net for life’s events. A place where they can see “I am NOT alone” An outlet for expression, that is safe from ridicule, from peer pressure or bullying. I am building that resource and it is called The Path We Take TM and The Personal Journeys Project. Beginning initially with a website, then App whereby students can ask their questions about life and receive responses from those before them that have experienced the very same issues.
For someone to understand it gets better, for someone to know that we can lose it all and bounce back in life is pivotal for a healthy perspective, for a healthier outcome for life’s bigger issues we might encounter. When a child feels they can no longer handle the burden that sits on their shoulders, be it the daily bullying for being different or keeping quiet about the abuse they endure at home. By simply asking that all important question that gives someone permission to express their inner most fears, “ARE YOU OK?” can be all they need to hear in life to turn things from bad to bearable or from tolerable to great. An ear, a shoulder, an understanding, they are not alone.
You can continue your fighting over the issue that you think is the real issue, but I have said, “enough is enough.” I am creating a massive resource to bring relief to many aching hearts, that need to be heard in their own unique way. I ask you to join me on this quest, follow along on Facebook, Subscribe to our YouTube account and ask to be alerted to the Free App when it is released. I am in the middle of interviewing hundreds of amazing individuals, both young and old, who have told us how they got through their lives and made a success in their own way, all the while overcoming their personal hurdles. Giving an understanding that bullying can get better, that fear can end and that happiness is achievable. Giving others hope that today can be turned into an amazing tomorrow, the understanding that life evolves as you evolve, as you learn to handle day to day situations that in the past may have broke you and the guidance that this is how someone else climbed back on top of life or won the day.
We each matter in this world, we are too wrapped up with individual groups or nations, when we should ALL matter, no matter our race, creed or religion. That our individuality is the key to this incredible planet, that we must learn to live together and love one another as best we can, without the silliness. But surely, sitting back and arguing over who is wrong will get us no where at all.
My approach will not work for all, but it will work for many. And maybe they will go out there and lift others that needs help too. I am hopeful that in the year of putting this project together, that the lives it has already touched, possibly altered forever for the better, is just a glimpse of things to come. I have been humbled by the response of those wishing to be a part of this project, willing to document their emotions and life’s journey to assist in showing others, that even though we fight our battles, and faced many fears, we are still here and stronger than ever. We do not all become superstars or the best in a chosen field or a pursuit in life, but we can become the best we can be. And surely, if we can all become the best we can be, would not this change the world in a dramatic and awe-inspiring way?
So watch me work people, watch me work and bring this project to the forefront of education, to the conversations in politics and to help re-educate our teachers and students alike. To help bring into the light that we all matter, we should be looking out for each other, and that some required reform is on the way. I have a dream, I have a mission and I hope you will be a part of it… Please come follow along.
Andrew C Jones - The Path We Take - The Personal Journeys Project.