Like some of you, I was raised in a time when there was such a thing as innocence and a feeling of safety. I feel like that is just not a reality for future generations, and that breaks my heart.
I don’t know how old you are, but I cannot ever recall a time of “innocence and a feeling of safety”.
During my life I’ve seen kids grow up under the shadow of the cold war and possible nuclear annihilation. School children were drilled in bomb/missile attacks by hiding under desks, in storage rooms or latrines. People dug bomb shelters and stocked up on survival supplies. Communities had ‘Civil Defense’ plans and stockpiled survival goods.
Kids watched the Vietnam War play out on TV with regular body counts; pretty much all of us either knew some guy or knew of some guy; sometimes not a whole lot older than ourselves; who had been killed or wounded over there. Almost 60,000 American boys killed and over 300,000 wounded. If the Vietnam war was before your time, take a moment to absorb those numbers- sixty thousand.... three hundred thousand.....
TV and magazines contained images of dead and wounded children. Granted they were not American kids, but it still impressed on us that the world in general was neither innocent nor safe.
The president was assassinated. There were Race Riots. Kids worried about the ‘Commies’ taking over Central America or launching attacks from Cuba and worried over Soviet Submarines armed with nuclear missiles patrolling our coastlines.
In the USA airplanes were hijacked. In Israel school children were murdered. Hundreds of people were killed or injured by IRA bombs. Back in the US there was violence or threats of violence from one end of the racial spectrum to the other- from the Black Panthers to the KKK.
The Unibomber could strike at anytime and serial killers made headlines. Children became random victims of Gangs and Drug crime.
There were disturbing events like Kent State and Waco.
Before my time kids were frightened that the Japanese were invading. The USA lost over 400,000 husbands, fathers and brothers. Many others returned home mentally and physically wounded. The USA got off easy compared to the rest of the world where there were millions of casualties including civilian woman and children. Before that there was the first Drug War (prohibition). Before that people were scared of the Mexicans or the Indians. Women, children nor schools were safe.
Schools have been attacked in North America going back to the Seven Years War (French and Indian War). Throughout the world, not including wartime, schools have been attacked by people with bombs, knives, guns and even a homemade flame thrower. Please don’t misunderstand- none of this is intended to minimize the horrible travesty of Sandy Hook.
The point is simply that the world; including the USA; is NOT an innocent safe place. It never has been and never will be. Car accidents, bombings, gang violence, plane crashes, wars, serial killers and mass murders are a fact of life. It is what it is.
You’ve an important role to fill as a counselor by helping people, including children, understand this.