There is a universal outcry for our lawmakers to do “something” in response to the latest act of school violence. Ban guns, make it harder to get guns, make more guns available, more mental health services, or enforce the laws that are already passed are just some of the talking points that are in the public conversation today. I would like to suggest an alternative course of action that will not be popular but can be done today.
Embrace every individual’s humanity, reach out to them, and make them part of a community. Be the person who is brave enough to sit with the outsider at lunch. Have a conversation with someone you wouldn’t normally. If someone is acting against social norms, don’t push them into isolation — bring them back into the fold. Social isolation is one of the cruelest forms of punishment possible. Be brave and take action to show others they have value and are part of something larger than themselves.
We model behavior we see every day. What signals have we sent to others lately? There is power in our collective action to reach out to others and make personal contact with someone who feels isolated.
We have the power to do something. We have the power to model behavior that reaches out to the unpopular, the outcasts, and to the socially “unacceptable.” It is a challenge and it will be uncomfortable. But big results come from small actions. - Adam McLean, Ponca, Nebraska