This past month a colleague and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Social-Emotional Learning in Action Convening. We spent several days brainstorming ways to support the varied needs of children who face severe stressors in their lives. There was a high level of energy among educators from across the country with a focus on positive solutions. The Education First Foundation did an excellent job in organizing the event.
The convening brought together grantees of the NOVO Foundation, including the Children’s Legacy Partnership. Our grant funds from NOVO will help support our Empower Youth Leadership Conferences in the coming year. The conferences focus on promoting personal leadership skills for middle school students.
The emotional stressors many of our children face seem increasingly evident each day. Gun violence has become a public health crisis. One of our supporters and community members was moved to write a poem in the wake of the recent shootings in the U.S. which is included
By Rookie Manning
It’s not about the guns…their ugly add-ons,
“Silencers,” “bump stocks” be damned.
Nor about the bombs…made right here,
Or built upon foreign soil.
It’s not about the bullies…be they six feet tall,
Running loose on life’s rogue playgrounds.
It’s not about the news, its left or right sources,
Be they factual or fake.
It’s about our kids! They are being violated!
It’s about their “kidness,” their rights to be.
It’s about their light being shadowed,
Their blue skies clouding over.
Do you think the young ones don’t feel it?
You’re wrong. They’re so very sharp.
Do you think the older ones are carefree? In fact,
Doubts tease lofty future plans.
You raised them to feel safe, but alas,
Our world and theirs contradicts.
Teachers teach them to problem solve, yet
Unsolved problems shout shore to shore.
We raised them to be respectful, while they witness
Differences mocked by those deemed respected.
It’s about OUR KIDS! What can we do?
They don’t even know they need us.
Indeed, they need us to talk with them
And process the shameless chatter.
We can BE kindness personified
And offer them to be the same
We can name what’s not right in our world,
Rather than hope they don’t hear or “get it.”
They surely “get it.” Ask about their drills
For school shootings and threats of bombs.
We can LISTEN to their amazing thoughts,
And truly HEAR what they fear.
Let’s encourage them to share their unique,
Kid ideas for kind acts from day to day.
Let’s learn from them, partner with them,
Diminishing the aloneness of awareness
It’s not about the guns, the bombs, the news.
It’s about our kids, the future that we owe them
It’s about the “kidness” they deserve
And our dauntless pledge to preserve it.