RSS Feed

Tag Archives: shootings

About connection and about shootings.


This is an article that needs to be repeated:
Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down the names of four children with whom they’d like to sit the following week. The children know that these requests may or may not be honored. She also asks the students to nominate one student whom they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. All ballots are privately submitted to her.

And every single Friday afternoon, after the students go home, Chase’s teacher takes out those slips of paper, places them in front of her and studies them. She looks for patterns.

Who is not getting requested by anyone else?
Who doesn’t even know who to request?
Who never gets noticed enough to be nominated?
Who had a million friends last week and none this week?

You see, Chase’s teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or “exceptional citizens.” Chase’s teacher is looking for lonely children. She’s looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down- right away- who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying.

As a teacher, parent, and lover of all children – I think that this is the most brilliant Love Ninja strategy I have ever encountered. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students. It is like mining for gold – the gold being those little ones who need a little help – who need adults to step in and TEACH them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts with others. And it’s a bully deterrent because every teacher knows that bullying usually happens outside of her eyeshot – and that often kids being bullied are too intimidated to share. But as she said – the truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets of paper.

As Chase’s teacher explained this simple, ingenious idea – I stared at her with my mouth hanging open. “How long have you been using this system?” I said.
Ever since Columbine, she said. Every single Friday afternoon since Columbine.

Good Lord.

This brilliant woman watched Columbine knowing that ALL VIOLENCE BEGINS WITH DISCONNECTION. All outward violence begins as inner loneliness. She watched that tragedy KNOWING that children who aren’t being noticed will eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.

And so she decided to start fighting violence early and often, and with the world within her reach. What Chase’s teacher is doing when she sits in her empty classroom studying those lists written with shaky 11 year old hands – is SAVING LIVES. I am convinced of it. She is saving lives.

And what this mathematician has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything – even love, even belonging – has a pattern to it. And she finds those patterns through those lists – she breaks the codes of disconnection. And then she gets lonely kids the help they need. It’s math to her. It’s MATH.

All is love- even math. Amazing.

Chase’s teacher retires this year – after decades of saving lives. What a way to spend a life: looking for patterns of love and loneliness. Stepping in, every single day- and altering the trajectory of our world.

TEACH ON, WARRIORS. You are the first responders, the front line, the disconnection detectives, and the best and ONLY hope we’ve got for a better world. What you do in those classrooms when no one is watching- it’s our best hope.


More about guns in US.




Getting shot
– at work
– at school
– at the movies
Isn’t something people in other developed countries worry about.

and finally


Praying doesn’t change anything!

Praying is not addressing the issue!

Praying is not addressing the issue!

Facebook is over run with candles and people calling us to pray for the children and adults who lost their lives yesterday in Connecticut, and for the families who survive.  I have yet to see what changes, improvements, lives have been saved with all those prayers.  Praying is a way some people cope with their complete and utter impotence when faced with this violent and senseless act of murder.  Praying is not action, it’s comfort to the prayer.  Why does the prayer need to comfort themselves?

Get off your knees and act.  

Obama calls for “meaningful” action.

If you live in this country that is still stuck in the 17th century, do something today to bring yourselves into the 21st century.

“New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, also called for action.

“We have heard all the rhetoric before,” he said.

“What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress,” he said. “That must end today.”

I know that if I lived in the US of A I’d be doing and not praying.


Edited a few hours later to say in response to someone telling me that they support the 2nd amendment as it protects law abiding citizens.

The children and teachers, one hopes, were law abiding, they weren’t protected? The children at Columbine were law abiding, as far as we know, they weren’t protected. The theatre/cinema goers at Aurora were probably mostly law abiding, it didn’t protect them, the Arizona shoppers were probably mostly law abiding, did the 2nd amendment protect them? I have yet to see how the 2nd amendment protects law abiding citizens… there is a massive blindness to what is happening, a cultural blindness.