Slice of Life Challenge Day 25 #sol18

New apartments . . .

“The March is today,” my wife reminded me.  I looked around at everyone at the breakfast table: my eight year-old, my six year-old, my two year-old…my wife.  Suddenly it occurred to me…yes, that march.  The one in D.C.   “The March for Our Lives.”  The March organized by students from Parkland, Florida.  Silently, I watched as my beautiful little children nibbled at their pancakes, totally oblivious to this horrendous reality, this reality now a mainstay in American headlines: school shootings.

I can recall a time when those two words sounded so foreign when juxtaposed.  I mean “school” and “shooting” just didn’t…well, they just didn’t belong in the same sentence.  Ever.  Now the two words, well-acquainted with one another at this point, have over the past several years, welcomed a friend to their sentence: “Latest.”  Because it just happens so often, too often.

And my children know nothing about this.

Their ignorance, I will admit, results from a purposeful and calculated shield my wife, our community, and I have decided to fabricate around them.  The idea of educating them on this topic has yet to occur as appropriate to us.

And yet, they attend school.  All three of them.

So what is the right answer?  I took a small sip of my coffee.




Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

17 thoughts on “Slice of Life Challenge Day 25 #sol18”

  1. This is big stuff. I think about this as well. My daughter goes to a school named for Victoria Soto. She grew up in our town and went to the same high school as I did, one year behind. The kids at my daughter’s school talk of Victoria. I was actually talking to another parent yesterday about what the teachers tell the kids….

    The worry and fear of the times we find ourselves are woven into your words. The need to protect is also there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For the first time I feel hopeful that these marches just might resonate with the powerful. That hope doesn’t address your issue though. Protecting our children, including our students, is what we do. Shielding them is what we do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly wish I felt more hopeful, but Newtown showed me that it doesn’t seem to matter how horrific, our legislators are just not going to act to make meaningful change. But I hope you’re right, I hope this is different.


      1. I think what’s different this time is that the students themselves are spearheading the activism. It’s harder to attack them. Alex Jones can’t say it didn’t happen, and the NRA attacks the “organizers” they paint as Hollywood types. But the kids are having none of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Knowing when to teach kids about the workd’s harsh realities is tough, but I wonder if your eight year old is w/out knowledge of school shootings. What do elementary teachers tell students? I grew up during the Cold War w/ drop and cover drills and lessons about the threat of nuclear war. I learned about nuclear threats and Vietnam as a seven year old.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s interesting to think about what you went through living during the Cold War, especially as it relates to now. I wonder if saying to kids “bombs might fall” is the same as “someone might come in your class and shoot you”? Both are harsh realities indeed. Thanks for your comment.


  4. We, too, struggle with what to tell our children (7 &9), especially because we currently live in Canada and seem (somewhat) shielded from the reality. Your last lines give me pause: “The idea of educating them on this topic has yet to occur as appropriate to us./ And yet, they attend school. All three of them./So what is the right answer? I took a small sip of my coffee.” I don’t know the answer. I do know that I am in awe of the students who are out there now. I am hoping against hope that they will keep rising, that they will not let this go. Maybe I hope that they will use their innocence and their anger so that my children don’t have to do the very same thing. I don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s so tough and I appreciate your thoughts here. It feels like you’re thinking along with me and the millions of other parents faced with this difficult question. I am not typically a cynic and always want to believe people will gravitate toward the calling of our better angels. And yet a profit-driven society devoid of morality seems to be what our larger power structure has evolved into…and so, like you, I’m hopeful this generation of youth can impact the future so our little ones don’t have to carry such a terrible torch. Thanks for your thoughts here.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the way you end this- quietly taking a sip of coffee.

    I also love the way you addressed the individual word— latest. school. shooting. They truly are words that should never reside inside the same sentence.

    It’s so hard to know the right thing to do as a parent.

    Last April, I had an intruder situation with a class in progress. It was awful, but it was resolved without violence.

    My son does not know about it. He is a sixth grader who has experienced numerous intruder drills, who is undoubtedly aware of current events on some level. But I have chosen to shield him from it— deliberately, purposefully, continually.

    I don’t know if what I am doing is right, but I want to believe it is, because I don’t want the abstract concept to sink into concrete reality for him.

    I love this thought-provoking slice. I am sad that it is a conversation our society has over breakfast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like you went through a scary situation. The whole thing is terrifying. My wife gave my daughters a very general introduction to climate change last year and they were distraught and disturbed for days afterward. What this school shooting information would do to them I don’t know. I don’t want to know, I guess. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. In the Cold War era as a child we had fall out drills. I remember thinking about it then and hoping that it wouldn’t happen. We know now that those precautions were pointless. We have a couple of incident drills a year and a few more discussions as a staff. Each time it seems we escalate the plans based on the last scenario. It becomes more troubling. But like you, I realize that this reality is encroaching
    The frequency has increased. I don’t want this to be our collective children’s future.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a powerful slice. Your unconditional love for your family is evident in your post. You beautifully intertwine all the intricacies of this horrific topic. Great slice.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The fact both of my daughters (one is in college now,the other a senior) have been through active shooter drills frightens and disgusts me. The fact that I, as an 8th grade teacher, have to talk through the options of what do do, where do go, how we get out of my room, that has one door, frightens and disgusts me. I cannot imagine having younger children right now because of topics like this.

    The problem, we live in rural Iowa, and you start talking gun rights and suddenly it’s “they want our guns”. Until we overcome those thoughts, and the inability for those in our government to realize there is a problem, there will ALWAYS be a problem.

    I wish you the wisdom to know when is the right time to talk with each of your children. Enjoy that innocence for as long as you can. It’s a precious gift and I envy you for that reason! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Such an honest and thought provoking slice. It is natural to want to shield and protect our children. The fact that my own son does not know the extent of what happened is a sign of our privilege, not to be taken for granted. I acknowledge that privilege holds power, and I have to decide what to do next. My plan is that when my son asks about the March (and he will at some point), I will answer honestly and simply.

    Liked by 1 person

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