Just at a loss. I check and make sure the people I know who have gone there are ok. I watch the news with my wife. I go outside and watch my little kids play. I watch some more news. I try to find some words. Do I share them or is it better just to be quiet. I want to do something to make a difference. But I’m not a soldier. I’m not a first responder. What can I do?
I’m a father, a teacher and a coach. I talk to my older sons. I make sure they know that whoever did this is the ultimate coward. I send out a couple of short posts that I know some of my students and players, fellow educators, and friends will read.
But my biggest concern is for the young. I don’t want them to lose hope. I don’t want them to live in fear. I want them to stand in defiance to the coward(s) who did this. Things get worse if they don’t.
I think about who is responsible. A few days ago I read about the Milgram Experiment. I read about Zimbardo’s seven steps along the slippery slope of evil. Both show how someone could be lead to do horrid things. Last week in class I taught my students about the correlations between bullying, insurgency, and gang violence. I talked about the commonality of the character traits of those involved in each of these situations. Now this.
Through it all, the message I have embraced resonates. I don’t mean to grind my ax. I don’t want to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. However, I also don’t want to hide. I don’t want to stop trying to help guide the young and appealing to the open minded.
Whoever did this didn’t have humility. They didn’t care about other people. Instead, they narcissistically thought their idea was more important than the lives and well being of people they didn’t even know. Nobody taught the perpetrator(s) humility. Nobody taught the perpetrator(s) to care about others. The coward or cowards demonstrated no courage in their anonymous attack. Nobody taught them or they refused to learn.
So I teach. I do so in order to try to help others build a strong character; one that is not susceptible to the evils, large and small, I mentioned. A strong character that will not allow one to flee or freeze but instead force them to react with courage when someone finds themselves in a difficult situation. The type of character so fully demonstrated by those who rushed to the aid of others. Those good people humbly and courageously cared for others in their time of need.
Such heroism starts with humility and caring and moves forward with courage. Such evil starts with a lack of humility and caring and moves forward, or stands silent witness, with cowardice.
A Harvard grad, The President called Boston a “tough and resilient town.”
The more difficult the situation the clearer it is that Character and Mental Toughness do make a difference. I guess that’s how I can help. I just have to continue to recognize and teach these traits and encourage others to do the same.
Sometimes all we can personally do to fight terrorism is to continue to do what we do. Sometimes that might be as simple as helping people prepare to do the right thing when the large or small moment comes.