Lead with Two Rules: A Call to Action for Our Youth
In a shocking incident that took place in Las Vegas, a 17-year-old boy, Jonathan Lewis, lost his life while bravely standing up for a smaller friend who had become the target of a brutal attack. The assailants, a mob of at least 15 individuals, not only stole from the smaller friend but also threw him into a garbage can. The graphic video of this tragic event, as reported by the NYPost, serves as a stark reminder of the growing issue of violence among youth.
PLEASE NOTE THIS VIDEO IS GRAPHIC
Over the years, I have advocated for the importance of being a "stand-upper" when facing bullies. However, this incident forces us to confront the reality that we are dealing with more than just bullies. This was a mob mentality, a collective act of aggression involving not only active participants but also bystanders who recorded the incident and shouted encouragement. It's time to reevaluate our terminology. Those who stand by and encourage such violence are no longer simply bystanders; they are "encouragers." All of these videos recorded and shared over and over seem to make others think it is okay to do these things. There is no sense of the “realness” of the damage it does physically, mentally and emotionally. They have a mindset it is happening to others, not me. Then when it happens to them, they may realize how awful it truly is. This level is far to high than learning a lesson, it is costing lives.
In light of this heartbreaking incident, I am compelled to reflect on the principles outlined in my upcoming book, "Lead with Two Rules: Feeling Good and Feeling Safe." These rules are not just meant for the walls of schools; they are applicable to every corner of our communities. The philosophy behind these rules emphasizes the importance of consequences and responsibility for the choices we make. The title may seem simplistic, fluffy and as though it cannot really accomplish what is needed. I hope you take the time to learn about it, read it and understand what it can do. I utilized this philosophy in a school with children who faced real hard issues, gangs, issues with the police, drive by shootings and so much more. My expectations were high for everyone and never lowered. I never asked anyone to do more than what I was willing to do.
It is imperative that we, as a society, take proactive steps to address the multifaceted needs of the children we serve. Jonathan Lewis's tragic fate reminds us that tomorrow is too late for individuals like him. The responsibility does not rest solely on the shoulders of teachers, school leaders, or any specific entity. It is a collective responsibility that each one of us must shoulder.
Being an active member of our families, communities, and schools is crucial. We need to know who we are selecting as leaders, be aware of who is in our schools, and understand what is being taught. Establishing boundaries, guidelines, modeling positive behaviors, and fostering open communication are essential for the well-being of our children.
Moreover, it is crucial to address the increasing division in our country and recognize the distress our youth is facing—mentally, physically, and emotionally. If we continue to ignore these issues, the reflection we see in our society today will pale in comparison to the future we are allowing to be created.
Let Jonathan Lewis's tragic story serve as a wake-up call. It is time for us to unite, take action, and create a safer, more compassionate environment for our youth. The responsibility is ours, collectively, to shape a future where no child has to face such senseless violence.
As this came to my attention today, it is already old news. The incident happened on November 1, 2023. My reaction to the news feed was very mixed with empathy, anger, sadness and disgust. The news these days is full of things which generates these emotions instead of what is needed to bring our country together. My plea today is to do one thing today to honor the loss of Jonathan Lewis. Call your school and ask what is one thing I can do to help you today? Volunteer your time to eat lunch with children, cut paper, sort papers, copy papers, read to kids, put books back on shelves, help in the lunchroom, be a crossing guard or bus stop monitor. So many ways to be visible and to help! If you are an organization donate to the schools. Provide a family night discount.
There are so many ways to help schools! If anyone knows someone at Shutterfly, let me know. I would love for them to help me with supporting a family idea I have with my book to support community and school. We need to work together to lift each other up!