Parental Sacrifice


Remember when your kids were little? It was funny, annoying and sweet to catch yourself making ridiculous sacrifices for them.

I know in my house we sacrificed our precious sleep just to keep those little cuties alive. I bet you did, too!

We sacrificed our date nights when we couldn’t find sitters. We sacrificed our weekends to hockey tournaments and band practice and girl scout camping trips. That’s what adults do for kids! We set aside our own needs and preferences for the children who depended on us.

Whether it was the pulp in our orange juice or the crunch in our peanut butter, we were willing to give up our own pleasures to keep our kids happy.

As a teacher, I remember sacrificing my lunch break for kids who needed someone to talk to. We all sacrificed our weekends to lesson plans so that the kids would have the best week possible.

That’s what adults do. That is how every species has managed to survive. We sacrifice our own needs so that the next generation can thrive.

I know that if someone told me that I should give up a dangerous vice in order to protect our children, I would do it. I have skipped that glass of wine with dinner so I could safely drive the kids to a lesson or a game. I have given up the warmth and comfort of our wood stove, knowing that it made it harder for the kids to breathe.

Adults are genetically predisposed to protect children.

So if I was a person who really had a fabulous time juggling hand grenades, I’d be willing to give that up if I knew it might hurt the kids in my neighborhood. If I was a driver who really enjoyed driving a tank around town, I’d grudgingly stop doing it in order to prevent kids from getting squished.

This is what human being are designed to do. We are designed to protect our children.

So.

Why do the “I really have a good time shooting my AR-15” people think that their “fun” is more important than the lives of our kids? It makes no sense. It defies logic.

I know that if I could save the life of one child by giving up my TV, I’d do it. If I could save the lives of a dozen kids by giving up my laptop, it would be gone. Save a hundred kids by giving up my car? Yup, you can have it.

Save thousands of kids every single year by giving up my assault weapon?

Why would any human being say no to that?

I don’t know how these people sleep at night.

How Do You Sleep At Night?


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Dear NRA leaders, lobbyists and supporters,

No. I do not want to see guns brought into our schools. I do not want my former colleagues to be armed on the playground.

No. I do not want soldiers, swat teams or retired service people stationed around my local school. I do not want my daughter to have an armed guard outside of her classroom door.

Want to know why?

1. Kids are unpredictable

Sometimes the people who are killed by the guns are killed by accident. You know, the 7 year old with ADHD who pulled the fire alarm at my school could just as easily have grabbed a gun out of a pocket, a drawer or a holster.

If you think it makes sense to bring more deadly weapons into our classrooms, I have one question for you.

How do you sleep at night?

2. Humans are fragile

I have had students with severe emotional disabilities. Wonderful, smart, beautiful children who have struggled with anxiety, depression, PTSD, even psychosis and schizophrenia.

I have had colleagues who have struggled with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorder.

Sometimes humans, even the little ones, become overwhelmed and think that suicide is the right answer. Sometimes they act out. Sometimes they even succeed.

If you believe that adding loaded guns into this type of setting is a good idea, I have one question for you.

How do you sleep at night?

3. Schools are big places

There are a whole bunch of you out there trying to convince us that armed guards outside of our schools would keep us safer. But how many guards are you planning to add? Do you want to put one outside the front door? My classroom was just inside of a side door.

So what if we put a guard outside of every side door? Do we need one at the loading dock, too? How about the gym? The kitchen has an access door, too.

Snipers on the roof, maybe?

Couldn’t a bad guy with one of those awful guns shoot out our windows? Do you we want guards all along the streets that surround the school?

Would you want to put an armed guard outside of every classroom? Every three classrooms?

What do we do about recess?

If you think placing armed guards in schools can help protect us, I have just one question for you.

How do you sleep at night?

4. Should guns be visible or concealed?

This one is tricky, right?

Let’s start with the idea of arming teachers. Let me imagine myself in my fifth grade classroom. If my gun is loaded and on my body, I’d theoretically be ready to shoot the bad guy, right?

But if I want to get my gun and shoot before I”m killed it would have to be readily available. I guess it would be in a holster on my chubby hip. As a middle aged woman kneeling down to work with the kids, I often banged my hip on a desk or chair. Sometimes I dropped my pen, my notebook or my text book as I moved from desk to desk.

Sometimes I had to climb up on chairs or counters to set up the classroom or get materials ready.

Imagine all that with a loaded gun.

Bad plan.

So if its a bad idea to have a gun right on my hip, what about if it is kept in a drawer in my desk?

My unlocked desk, where I rarely sat because I was busy teaching. I guess at the sound of gunshots from outside my classroom I would shut off the lights, lock the door, gather the kids in our safe spot and grab my gun out of my desk. Unless I had put the gun in a place where a kid couldn’t grab it either accidentally or on purpose.

In which case I’d have to dig around for a bit while the AR-15 was shooting outside my door.

Great idea, you say?

How do you sleep at night?

5. Schools are NOT prisons

Teachers are not first responders. Children are not inmates.

Schools, when they work well, are centers of community life. They are places of thought, of friendship, of social engagement.

In healthy schools, teachers and children feel safe and respected. They share a sense of community and belonging.

It seems obvious to this former teacher that spending all day in the presence of armed guards would make it impossible to feel anything but trapped and under siege.

So.

If you honestly believe that the best we can do to protect our children is to keep them under armed guard, rather than taking away the danger that faces them, I would ask you this one simple question.

How the hell do you sleep at night?