I was recently browsing through pictures from our 2012-2013 afterschool program, and I came across these two pictures. I felt that it would be appropriate to share a quick thought.
We did an activity with our kids to discuss problems in our community. The issues were: littering, graffiti, not helping each other, etc. I was paired up with a couple of our fifth grade boys. My task was to moderate the discussion and ask questions to help them get to the heart of the issue. They decided that "killing" was a problem in our community. I asked them to elaborate. "Guns and knives," they replied. Both explained their point of view. I was actually shocked to see how calmly they talked with each other, and how different their views were on the issue of violence in their community.
Their train of thought (as shown below) went from the issue, "killing", to what possibly leads up to killing and then on to possible solutions. One felt that guns should be taken away from everyday people, as he explained, "People like you and me and give [the guns] to the cops." The other felt that everyone should be allowed to have a gun if they felt like they needed it for their protection. They disagreed on the gun issue but both were able to have a calm, civilized conversation, listening to the other's point of view and then discussing how they could help fix the original problem, killing.
This is in no way a political post to push an agenda but rather a challenge to talk with our kids about these issues. Whether or not we talk about it, they are thinking about these things. They are listening and forming their own views. It was great to see how easily these two could talk about it together as if they were discussing who they were going to see at recess. Their simple innocence and honesty was so refreshing and a good reminder that we, as adults, need to be more willing to have these calm discussions with one another.