The unfortunate and tragic shooting by a deranged and troubled middle school student in Reno Nevada has prompted many comments but the most misplaced perhaps was the misuse of the word “family” when referring to the schools population.
School shootings or crime of any kind are daily reminders of the troubled world we live in. This is not about guns or the accessibility of firearms or knives nor is it about the increased level of insanity that seems to be permeating our once calm and sanguine lives. This is about the family and the root of the problems that stem from the dissolution of what used to be the foundation of a moral and sane society.
Family has become synonymous with any designated group, regardless of genetic or adoptive association and has infused itself across every aspect of assemblage associations. We have work families, school families, sports families and families of like minded political thinkers and I suppose we could even have a family of non-agreeing, cross cultural, multiethnic haters and lovers of pizza if we really wanted too.
The word “family” as defined by Wikipedia is: In human context, a family (from Latin familia) is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity (by recognized birth), affinity (by marriage), or co-residence/shared consumption (see Nurture kinship).
I guess you could classify schools as a family based on free and reduces lunches under the provision of consumption but I think that might be stretching it a bit. A family is not a spurious construct of convenience, although many treat the institution as an inconvenience, the family seems to be the first to fall when troubles overcome good sense and weak minded and selfish actions separate the once good intentions with divorce. Invariably however the prior actions to escape from one family almost always lead to the formation of a second family, new wife, new husband, new kids, different kids, new house, different house but still a family by definition. That seems to be a lot of effort to simply sell and old car just so you can buy another different old car….
Taking the old car scenario to its ultimate and logical conclusion one may think the “new” old car is better than the “old” old car but in reality the only difference is in the associated problems adopted and those discarded or not wanted. One could make the argument that certain problems become intolerable and almost any change in the short term looks better than the option of continuing but after that honeymoon of change is over the new problems become old and the intolerability returns and the process of escape rears its ugly head and divorce again solves the problem. That’s why second marriages fail at an alarming rate (67-70% divorce).
Had the offending parties patiently participated in proactive psychotherapy the marriage of the first part would never become the marriage of the second part and the family of the first part would not become fractured, teaching the children of the first part that the family unit is an important and essential part of society, grounding those same children with the fundamental moral principles that can only be gleaned from responsible mothers and fathers within the functioning family structure.
I know I’ll get comments about single parents doing wonderful jobs, especially after a spouse is no longer involved, dead or abusive or stolen by aliens the point is the family, two parents a mother and a father, a male and female is primarily the designed structure that promotes genetic saliency, societal balance and mental health. It is perhaps the mental health aspect that has crumbled the most showing those negative effects more often as more and more offenders act out to destroy or maim, not being able to negotiate the pressures of life, lashing out, kicking and screaming as they go.
We need more emphasis on the family and its ultimate importance on the eventual outcome of our youth and their ability to cope in an ever changing world. We need less coverage of societal connections that mask and imitate the family. More two parent homes, whenever possible; more responsible parents taking pride in sticking it out and loving each other simply because it’s the “right thing to do”. We need less confusion over the definition of “family” and more training of what a family should be.
A family is not a school; no matter how close they might be or what tragedy they might have to endure. A family is not a place of employment unless it’s a family business then you might wonder how they can stay together. Like minded groups are not a family of any kind.
I know the principal was trying to bridge the gap of tragedy and pain, trying to make everyone feel good but his reference of family was unfortunate and misplaced. I feel for those who suffered and lost their lives, I truly do, our country is at a crossroads and its very soul is at stake and with it the foundational family unit. If it dies the country dies, I sincerely pray that we wake up and make those needed changes in our own lives to salvage our own souls and with it our own families.
“Example sheds a genial ray which men are apt to borrow. So first improve yourself today and then your friends tomorrow.” Unknown
Strengthen yourself, strengthen your family the rest will take care of itself….