Can you think of a for instance when something made you so angry you reacted angrily, outwardly, violently? How did you feel? What did you think? How did you resolve the problem...or did you? Why were you pushed to that reaction in the first place?
The school shootings experienced over the past years have raised gun control concerns, which topic itself is inflammatory. What has changed so much that mass shootings occur now. Guns have been around for a very long time. (The oldest surviving firearm is dated c. 1288 in China. For the history of guns, do a Google search.)
A lot of factors are involved. No one seems to be sure why people commit mass murders. The first suspect is the guns. But there is discussion about mental health issues being the root cause. Also, brought into the discussion is prescription drug use.
In a Dec. 17, 2012 editorial in The Bangor (Maine) Daily News, it is stated, "In general, mental illness alone doesn't incline a person toward violence. But the presence of other risk factors does make assaults more likely. Those factors include: a history of violence (whether the person has witnessed it or been a victim or perpetrator), substance abuse (whether of drugs or alcohol), and lack of a support system, including homelessness, poverty and inadequate housing."
Does "respect" - or lack of it - have anything to do with the condition of our society? We all are aware of bullying, both in the workplace, in society and in schools. Bullying reflects a lack of respect for the victims.
What is respect?
Respect is being considerate of others. The Golden Rule applies: Treat others the way you want them to treat you. Accept others as the individuals they are with the same rights that you have. Everyone isn't the same. But every individual is affected by society. Society dictates what is acceptable behavior and what is not.
There have been times when small groups of people wandered together, working for the survival of all. It took everyone working together. Times may change, technology does, but people are the same through the ages.
Look at your neighborhood. Do you know the names of your neighbors? Do you neighbor at all? If not, why? Many neighborhoods are not friendly places where people talk to each other, for any number of reasons, including gossip that labels people, sometimes mistakenly. Too often, we are influenced by what others think instead of finding out first hand for ourselves. It is much easier today to be completely independent and take care of ourselves without the help of others. But people are social creatures and need to be connected to other people.
Respect is earned, not like earning a paycheck at a job, but at building bridges of communication that forge friendships through earned trust. "How are you doing today?" "Can I help you with that?" "What do you think of this weather?" Communication and exchange of ideas are good places to start.
Children today, it has been stated, do not know about respect for others or for life. But that's a very important part of parenting. What we do comes back to us. Helping the elderly folks across the street who are unable to shovel the snow from their walks or mow their lawn has its rewards. Youth, like everyone else, need to feel needed. They need the good feelings that come from random acts of kindness that help build good feelings about themselves and the world around them. The other side of a youth volunteering to help others is that those they help remember to tell them, "Thank you! I don't know how I would have taken care of that without your help." Or, "You did a great job! Thank you!"
Hillary Clinton wrote a book long ago, It Takes a Village to Raise a Child. Society has gotten away from the concept. It might be something we should get back to. And maybe that can happen when people help each other with compassion instead of creating atmospheres of sharp criticism and harsh judgments without recognizing the struggles that families are living. A smile, a comforting thought, a trusted friend who will listen and be a sounding board, perhaps even have some sound advice that might help are all valued and important.
There is a lot of anger "out there". Anger rises from hurt. Time may heal all things, but love heals people.
They are somewhere between childhood and adulthood although they appear, physically, to be adults. But they are not. Family Recovery offers a program for teens at risk for alcohol/drug problems. The Edge program is a group experience specifically designed for youth between 13 and 17 years of age. They discuss things like stress management, coping skills, addiction symptoms, effects of drugs, steps to change, peer pressure, relapse prevention, healthy relationships and self esteem.
"Adolescence is often a confusing time," advises the staff at Family Recovery Center. "Some teens use drugs in order to escape from unpleasant emotions or feel more confident-particularly if they feel shy or insecure about how they look or act."
For information about The Edge, contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone 330-424-1468 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org. FRC promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and other mental health issues. The agency is funded, in part, by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.