I have to admit, I haven’t quite gotten the hang of tweeting yet. Still, I have added @Thrivefamilies to the twitterverse because I know that this is where we can connect to teenagers and I expect my teen to help with this process.
One of the other reasons I have included Twitter as part of our social media presence is to monitor what is trending. Via Twitter, it is possible for us to get a glimpse into the thoughts, struggles and hopes of teenagers. To that end, my teenager asked me if I had noticed a hashtag that had grown in popularity this past weekend #IfIdieInASchoolShooting.
Using the Search…
For those who haven’t used Twitter, you can set your preferences to identify the most popular trends for a particular target area. I focus on Canada. It would seem my teen has a wider view and so, this morning I entered #IfIdieInASchoolShooting in the search. The results made my heart break:
- #IfIdieInASchoolShooting or any shooting, I want to be buried next to my brother.
- #IfIdieInASchoolShooting I will be just one of the many kids who’s (sic) life meant nothing to our lawmakers. Just another statistic.
- We, teenagers, are tweeting using #IfIdieInASchoolShooting. The saddest part about it? We have already had these thoughts – have already wondered if it will be our school next, what we will do if it happens to us, and how our community will (or will not) respond.
Why does it matter?
We live in Canada where gun control is far stricter than the US. The odds of our teenagers falling victim to a school shooting is far lower than their American peers. Still, they are watching members of their generation who, instead of feeling young and invincible, are genuinely concerned about the possibility of being gunned down at school.
We can tell our kids they are safe. But they know that already. What they are seeing is a world where life isn’t fair. Where innocence is lost. Where governments fail to protect. Where big business is more important than lives. They are witnesses to a symptom that the world is not as wonderful as the song claims it should be.
What can families do?
If our teenagers are following these trends, parents need to be courageous in our response. We need to listen to their concerns and be honest about what is possible, what we can do to protect ourselves and support the efforts of their American peers to protect themselves.
While it is unlikely to happen here, it matters to some teens that it happens and that makes it worth discussing. Conversation is always important, as is a willingness to support efforts our teenagers offer to advocate on behalf of those they see as vulnerable. Our teenagers are reading #IfIdieInASchoolShooting. It is up to us to engage them further so that they can find hope in the midst of a sad situation.
Thrive! A living manual for families uses the tools of social media and food and fellowship to facilitate conversation about the blessings and challenges of being family today. Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/