My heart. Oh, my heavy heart.
This weekend has been absolutely bittersweet. Sweet because of spending so much time with family and Mr. UpCyclist returning from a trip to Finland and Sweden. Bitter because of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. So many lovely, innocent lives and families changed forever.
I've had just a few days to process the act of the shooter. My thoughts continue to swirl in my head. As an educator, I've had many family and friends ask my opinion on the topic. Is it a school problem? Gun control issue? Mental healthcare concern? Community challenge? What?
Though, I believe it is all of those things, I believe the real answer lies in a blog post I wrote almost a year ago. Assets. Our humans, our citizens, our adults and our kids need more developmental assets. Period. The more you have, according to the Search Institute research, the more likely you will avoid high-risk behaviors like violence and suicide. What I notice about the majority of the assets is they are related to connection - connection with others, connection with school, connection with activities, connection with spirituality, connection. I believe the shooter possessed very few, if any, assets. Very few, if any, connections.
Don't believe me? Look at the asset list for the highest age group - 12-18 year olds. Do you think the shooter possessed more than five of those? Five out of forty? Come on. That's a human whose soul is starved, lost and unvalued.
While the FBI works on its profile for a shooter - be it a school shooter, theater, mall, post office, whatever shooter, I think I know what the profile is. A human with few, if any, assets.
We can't change history, but we can learn from it and influence the future. One asset. One connection at a time.
Download the assets lists here and figure out how you can contribute to the assets of others. I realize there is no "adult" asset list, but I think the age 12-18 year old list could be modified to fit the adult age range. If you haven't read my initial post on the developmental assets, read that, too, to understand them here. If you are still stuck what to do, try following this blog post about emotional bank accounts. That's an easy one you can do on a daily basis with every single person you come into contact with - man, woman and child.
Be safe, Upcyclists. Give your families a hug, kiss and cuddle from me.
With a heavy heart,
PS - I know the question will come up, what about humans who can't embrace the assets? What about those who just cannot connect? I think this article and blog post from a mom of a mentally ill child speaks to the need for increased mental healthcare and support in the US. For those humans who just cannot connect, we will need to implore more. And if you do read her post, I found the comments others left fascinating and thought-provoking.