Thirteen Steps Towards Less Violence
By Jim Fay
Our hearts ache for the pain inflicted upon all families involved in the Columbine High School tragedy.
It is our prayer that this sad event will bring people to work together in communities and the nation to examine pieces of the puzzle which contribute to violence in our society.
Although the pain cannot be removed, we believe that there are hopeful solutions through the cooperative efforts of parents, educators and others who care about our young people by examining the effect of our Love and Logic philosophy and techniques on families, schools and children over the past 20 years.
We believe the following actions can lead to the eventual solution. Violence will be reduced when:
- 1. Adults are offered and learn practical ways of reaching kids while kids are still very young.
- 2. Dignity and respect is afforded children of all academic and social levels.
- 3. All adults involved with children take responsibility for knowing what chil-dren are doing and intervene early when behaviors begin to be destructive.
- 4. Children do not have access to weapons.
- 5. Adults in all settings make concerted efforts to fulfill children's basic needs for love, healthy control, a sense of belonging and a sense of being needed by family and community.
- 6. Children see more acts of compassion than acts of violence in movies, television, and other media, as well as in their homes.
- 7. Adults provide strong discipline in very loving ways.
- 8. Children grow up with a minimum of criticism.
- 9. Communities provide adequate funding for effective mental health interventions.
- 10. Schools provide class sizes that are realistic for teachers to actually be able to provide for both the academic and emotional needs of each student.
- 11. Communities provide alternative treatment centers for troubled youth instead of expecting schools to meet both the educational and therapeutic needs of society.
- 12. School districts and state lawmakers place equal amounts of emphasis and funding upon training teachers in achieving academic standards and meeting students' emotional needs.
- 13. The following warning signs of troubled youth are reported and taken seriously:
- When direct and verbal threats of violence occur
- When children possess or become obsessed with weapons
- When children become cruel to animals
- When substance use or abuse occurs
- When gang involvement begins
- When chronic victimization or ostracism by others is evident.
None of the above is unreachable. Our nation has taken on and overcome larger challenges in the past. Every time someone does even one of these thirteen steps, he/she makes the world a better place.
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For more information, call the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. at 800-338-4065.