In the chorus to the song entitled, "Stop, Think, and Control" (words and music by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek) children learn not only to sing the words, but to internalize the message that that we all get angry, but that there are ways of dealing with those feelings. The words go like this:
"STOP, THINK, TAKE CONTROL of yourself,
You've got to STOP, THINK AND CONTROL.
Find another solution to the anger pollution.
Gotta Stop Think and Control"
Very young children know about feelings. They want and need the tools to express those feelings. They need the words, they need the role models. They know very well that we ALL get angry. They- as well as all of the adults in their midst need to learn to USE WORDS. But to be really effective, they need to learn this in a society where the adults are also learning to find other solutions to the ANGER POLLUTION in our culture, and in the world.
It is only too easy to point fingers to "mental illness" and "gun control" very big, 'macro issues' Yes, certainly more gun laws need to be enacted, and understanding, treatment, and legislation of mental illness need to change.
Words like "EVIL" are hard to grasp. Using words like "Sick" or "Bad" should be used very cautiously with young children because all kids get sick, and a situation like mass murder is well beyond 'bad.' Think about how terrible things can happen when people lose control and stop thinking. Help children talk about what to do when they get angry. This is a conversation that should be part of our every day conversations not just in response to tragedy.
How to help change a culture? Culture is the language we use every day. Culture is the ways we relate to each other. It is the lyrics of our songs. It is what we believe in and how we work and play. It is what we eat and how we share meals together. Our culture is the little things that we do everyday. Those little things become the culture which defines us.
Keep it simple. While we call for changes in the entertainment industry, turn off the TV- the news as well as the 'drama' and the eliminate violent video games.
While we call for gun control legislation on the national level, on a personal level, let's think about some non-violent solutions to the 'anger pollution' we all confront each day.