Over the last few weeks I’ve read numerous articles, opinions, and comments with all sorts of theories about why we keep seeing these horrendous school shootings. It’s heartbreaking. It’s infurating. It’s unthinkable. We all want to solve it. We all want our children and their teachers to be safe. I don’t think there is any question about that. If we could just figure out who is to blame and deal with them we could solve this thing stat, like we all want to. But what is even more frightening to me, is watching us all turn on each other. The proverbial finger pointing, blaming everyone (and especially their mothers.) It’s so telling. I’ve seen, divorce, fathers, mothers, mental illness, adoption, medication, bad parenting, video games, movies, guns, and more, all blamed as THE reason we are seeing what we are seeing. Can I tell you how many of those boxes I can check off? By the sounds of what I’m reading you might as well lock up all of my children today. What scares me most is our unwillingness to see our part in any of it. It’s all someone else’s fault, someone else’s wrongdoing.
So I will be the first to raise my hand and admit the problem lies with me. The problem lies in my own heart and my own actions. When I choose to judge a population of people who I don’t understand because I’m afraid, I isolate them rather than figuring out how to love and help them. When I choose to close my eyes to the things I may have done to let unhealthy cultural norms slip into my home, the problem is me. When I choose to point my finger in someone else’s direction because it distracts me from seeing the evil in my own soul, the problem is me. I teach my children to take responsibility for their actions. I tell them to claim their part in wrong doing, without minimizing their actions by highlighting the wrong actions of another, but when the rubber meets the road and it’s my turn to own my part it all goes out the window. My gut reaction is blame. And then I wonder why they won’t own up. And then we wonder, as a culture, why our children can’t own their actions, and recognize the vast consequences of those actions.
The heart of a culture lies within its people, each and everyone of them. The answer to our problems is not singular. The guns, the video games, divorce, parenting, how we deal with those suffering from mental illness and disabilities…all symptoms of a deeper problem. A problem rooted so deep in our hearts we can hardly see it. We are unwilling to look in the mirror and own our junk, admit that we don’t have the answers, and that quite possibly we might be wrong. This is what we are passing onto our children, this is the culture we are perpetuating when we cast blame rather than search our own hearts. The problem is me. The problem is us, all of us.
I can’t tell you how many articles and posts I’ve had to resist the urge to like or share because they resonated. I’m fighting my tendacey to blame someone else and attempting to swallow my pride and admit that I’ve missed the mark in so many of these areas. Instead of getting angry when someone posts something that places a target on my back, I’m choosing to give grace and try to see where they are coming from. Instead of judging people who have suffered things unimaginable to me, I’m choosing to listen to their needs and see how I can help meet them. Instead of calling names when I feel hot with anger at someone’s harsh words, I’m choosing to try to hear the hurt and the heart behind those words. I’m choosing to resist the temptation to deny I could play any part in such evil, and take a cold hard look at what I could do differently. I’m fighting hard against my natural tendacy, fighting for my soul. Because when I admit that the problem is me, then I can get to work on my part in fixing the problem. If I do my part and you do yours then maybe we can begin to move toward something better. Together.