I originally posted this on Twitter but decided to consolidate the posts into one post. Still mainly a collection of thoughts. I truly believe that we can fix this through education. It always starts with a spark, but I challenge you to read this and think about what I'm saying. Stop listening to what the politicians and media say. I believe this.
So here it goes:
"Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." Such powerful words today. So much fear. So much anger. So much hate. It’s not one man’s fault. It’s all of our faults.
It’s not all of education’s fault but it is a big part of this problem. We teach our students to fear weapons. We teach to tests. We haven’t taught respect for life for a generation. Communication.
We haven’t let our kids just be kids. We don’t let them learn outside. We don’t teach respect for weapons. Some of us do, and it works. I’ve seen it work with archery. We shoot weekly in the school. Bows and arrows and 4th and 5th graders. Safely. Because we EDUCATE!
So let’s fix this problem we are trying to band aid fix by blaming an inanimate object for all the problems with violence in this country. Why don’t we do something innovative. Try something daring. Bring weapon safety BACK INTO the schools and have the patience to see it work.
Archery is the second safest activity you can do besides ping pong. That’s not made up. It’s an actual statistic. Please fact check it. Why is it so safe? Because we TEACH it (safety) from day 1, and we expect it. And the students practice it every time they do the process.
So explain how any other deadly weapon is any different. Education can remove the fear and instill respect. Respect for a tool and respect for life. We can help fix this problem but we have to join together and get past politics and do what’s best for our kids and our future!
So let’s be innovative. Let’s be better than the politicians. Let’s get our kids outside and use that to teach academics. Teach outside the box. Teach respect for life. Teach conservation. Teach safety, teach communication. Compassion. Let let them be kids and grow with them.
People keep saying “We have to do something.” Then skip the bandaid and let’s get busy changing the world. And to those who say it can’t be done, I ask “why can’t it?” What’s holding us back? Reach out. Collaborate. Use technology. We have the resources and the ability. Act.
STASTICALLY...with the demographics at our school; someone should have been injured. Sub-teen aged students with bows and arrows...with deadly weapons capable of taking a life. But amazingly, my archery students excelled. They learned to set goals, They learned to be self sufficient and to believe in their own God given abilities to achieve their goals. They got in less trouble. They attended tutorials. They worked hard. They passed and most importantly...they grew...as students, as archers, and as individuals. Archery brought us together and built a relationship between the coaches and students that most teachers never get to experience. We took 22 of the lowest socioeconomic students to the Texas State Archery tournament and there were twice as many family members there as students. The band and cheerleaders met us at school along with the Superintendent of schools and a host of central office leaders and gave us a sendoff of a lifetime. Tears were flowing. Joyful tears.
Now I see tears of pain for a tragic loss of life, and politicians on both sides playing politics, and anger, and hatred. People blame parents. Do they play a part in all of this. Yes. Yes they do, but archery teaches self reliance. You can't control what anyone else does, but you can control your own actions and reactions. So let's focus on what WE as TEACHERS can change. WE can change education if we choose to. We can be innovative if WE choose to. We can TEACH kids how to change the world and make it a better place if WE CHOOSE to.
I have four children of my own, ages 7, 5, 5, and 5 (yes...triplets). They all know archery. They can ALL shoot a firearm (.22LR). They know to ask before touching anything but they are welcome to handle any firearm in the safe, and yes I keep them under lock and key. But they know they only need to ask an we teach them how to safely handle them, so I also ask parents to make a choice WITH US!
Ladies and gentlemen - If we want to fix this problem, then let us fix the problem. If OUR kids at our school can do it, yours can too. Educate them. Start an archery program. Get an outdoor education program going. Look into the Liink Project. TEACH!