This past week at school my kids did the ALICE alert training. It stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. The school sent out a mass email telling us that they were going to do this right before they did the training. They included the power point presentation that they would use for the kids so parents could see what would be happening.
My heart sank.
It is so troublesome to me that these drills are necessary. With the situation of the world being what it is, I believe this kind of training is necessary, but it doesn't make it any less heartbreaking.
I remember when my kids were three years old and started school they had a training. The teacher told everyone to go into the bathroom, stay quiet, and eat goldfish crackers. The kids were told that it's a silly thing to do but they should play along with the game. I'm glad it was presented to them as something fun to do. Meanwhile, all the parents felt sad.
The gist of the training for kids at this age is to listen to an adult. Whatever teacher is around will decide whether it is best to barricade themselves in the room or try to escape through a nearby exit. As frightening as those options are, I put my faith in the school staff and I'm OK with that. The part that got to me the most was that if a child is not with a teacher -- for example he or she is in the bathroom or walking down the hall to the nurse -- the child has to become the decision maker.
My children are six. They don't know if it's OK to wear green and orange together. They don't know how to floss their teeth properly. They can take ten minutes deciding what donut to get at Dunkin' Donuts. Making good decisions isn't their strong suit right now.
But life is what it is. There are no guarantees in this world. There are car crashes and horrible diseases and meteors that fall from the sky and we can't worry about every possible "what if" that our brains can imagine. I take solace in the fact that I live in a nice and safe neighborhood. I live in a state with strict gun control laws and the lowest incidents of gun violence in the nation. I live in a state with mostly "blue" people. The school my kids go to is locked from the outside and you must be buzzed in to enter. If I want to feel good about sending my kids to school this is the place to do it. I think tonight, though, as I reflect on the state of the world, I'm going to bed a little more grateful of my family. Maybe that's one way I can turn the chaos of this world into something good. I'll try to remember what others have lost so that I can be thankful for all that I have gained.