Children and Lock Down Drills: The New Normal
Go on YouTube and search for children or school lock down drills. You will be amazed at the amount of videos that show what our kids are having to contend with at school. Even some preschools are teaching students what to do in order to hopefully stay safe during a mass-shooting or terrorist attack. This is the sad reality of the world that we’re living in, and we need to start taking a more active role in preparing our children for the worst.
Little Bodies, Big Minds
It’s important to remember that a child can be taught almost anything, even if the subject matter may be years beyond their current age or grade. For example, little kids can learn self-defense skills, how to hide, how to assess threats and how to mount an appropriate response. Schools will only go so far when it comes to trying to keep students safe. This usually involves them locking themselves in rooms, hiding in closets, escaping through windows or taking other reasonable steps to mount a defensive posture. However, these do little to teach kids how to seize opportunities that can increase their chances of getting out of the situation safely.
This is where the parents come in. Parents need to remember that the new reality of survival involves more than stocking up on food and learning bushcraft skills. Kids need to be ready to defend themselves, think on their feet and be ready to make good judgment calls, and it’s up to parents to train them. Whether they do it directly or send kids off to classes, it’s important that parents spend more time preparing their kids than trying to shield them from the dangers that we are all facing.
Drills Indicate Permanence
Some of us remember nuclear bomb drills during the cold war. Others are more familiar with tornado drills. Having lockdown drills is the embodiment of the same fear, uncertainty and sheer permanence that such an event could cause. Think about how kids are having to deal with the potential for an attack in the backs of their very creative and active imaginations. These drills reinforce that such possibilities are the new normal, and this is an indelible mark that they will carry for the rest of their lives.
However, we tend to spend less time talking about the danger and seriousness of things like mass shootings and acts of terror than we do about the dangers of tornadoes. It’s time to shift gears here and depart from the survivalist trajectory that we’ve been on for the past few decades. Chances are that the next crisis children face won’t come from a famine or an extended power outage, rather it could very well be an attack at their school.
Take time to listen to their concerns and fears, but also give them tools and skills so they can be ready to put them to use if necessary. The last thing that you want your kids relying on is some standardized lockdown procedure that some bureaucrat on a school board thought up. Believe it or not, this happens a lot more than you think, and seeing some of the silliness that’s on some of these videos illustrates the scope of the problem.
Start preparing your kids for the unthinkable. This is going to be the new normal, and they need to be equipped and ready to cope if an attack occurs. It’s hard to shift gears from trying to protect kids and isolate them from the realities of this world. However, we need to evolve our strategies as well, because our desire to protect children may be doing them more harm than good.