So here’s the thing:
You all know how I feel about #kinderchat. I LOVE #kinderchat. I co-created #kinderchat. Its very existence is one of my proudest accomplishments. I look forward to Monday evenings, 7pm MST, like no other weeknight. An hour every week with My People, talking about What We Do and How We Do It. We laugh and compare weather and make borderline inappropriate jokes about pants. Sometimes, we watch The Bachelor during the chat and trade snarky comments about crazy girls in wedding dresses. We talk, HARD about our lives as professionals. We share our heartaches. We are one another’s cheerleaders. We help each other grow. (And if, right about now, you have no clue what I am talking about, you can check out the Newbie’s Guide, here.)
#Kinderchat is the best.
And yet, here I am, to tell you: I am afraid of tomorrow’s chat.
The topic: Should Teachers Be Armed?
I’m not sure I can talk about this.
I believe that this ABSOLUTELY is about gun control.
I believe guns have NO PLACE in a school.
I believe this so passionately that if I thought one of my colleagues was carrying, I would probably start looking for other employment.
I believe that teachers who have taken handgun courses since Sandy Hook are putting their students at risk just to placate their own fears.
And I can say these things, here, on my blog, because I don’t know FOR SURE who will read, and I don’t know FOR SURE what they believe, and if I offend someone, it’s not like we are sitting across a table from one another, making eye contact over a pot of tea and some cookies. There is a delay, a distance, that comes with blogging. And over here, it’s my world. You coming to read my blog is sort of like coming into my living room. My house, my rules, my beliefs. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read.
But #kinderchat? #Kinderchat is exactly like sitting around a table with a pot of tea. Or a bottle of wine. But not in a house. In a restaurant, or a pub or a coffee shop. Somewhere neutral (pleasant, fun, cozy, but still: neutral). We all gather at a big round table to swap stories and thoughts. No one is IN CHARGE. We don’t always agree, but we usually respect one another. There is definitely eye contact.
And the fact is: I’m not sure I’m ready to sit at a table (virtual or otherwise) with someone who thinks that arming teachers is a good idea, who believes that a school could ever be safer with MORE guns in it. I’m not sure I can find a way to understand someone who thinks that way. I’m not sure I WANT to try. This is not like the worksheet debate or the homework debate, or crayons vs markers. I believe that a gun in a classroom is criminal negligence. There. I said it.
But… it’s #kinderchat. So I will go sit at that table, without knowing who might be sitting there with me. I might be quieter than usual (I’m usually pretty vocal. You’re shocked, I know.) . I will do my very very best to listen with an open heart, and to try to want to try to understand.
Because it’s #kinderchat, and this is what we do.
And if you’re coming to #kinderchat tomorrow, and maybe you disagree with me, and maybe you plan to start carrying a gun into your classroom…
Maybe you are scared, too.
I’m going to try really really hard to remember that.
And maybe you can do the same for me.
*Scared, by my old friends The Tragically Hip