I was planning on publishing this in a couple of days, a recap of a conversation with my kids from last week. But today, I subbed at my youngest’s elementary school, and participated in an ‘Active Shooter Drill’. Laying flat, listening to the alarm, having administration bang on the doors to check that they are locked, all while meeting the eyes of little ones who some are nervous, some are still chatty, it’s hard to not get a little emotional that this is our reality. I likened it to military, where God forbid anything like this ever happens for real, kids and staff would go on auto pilot and do what they have practiced, and practiced well. So, I thought today was appropriate for the following post.
The actual conversation in the car after I picked up my children from school:
My 4th grade daughter: We have a new way to act if we are on the playground for the stranger drill.
4th grader: Ya, you don’t lay on the ground anymore, you run zig zag around the playground, or to the school to see if a class is open. It makes it harder for someone to shoot you.
Me: Um, ok.
4th grader: And someone asked a silly question, they asked what if the bad guy broke the window in the door and then just reached in and opened the door?
Me: Oh, I don’t think you need to worry about..
10th grader son interrupts: Oh, that can totally happen, he could break the window with his gun and then just come in and start shooting then.
Me (in cold sweats, and clearly the only one in the car uncomfortable with the conversation): Stop this conversation now please!
4th grader (totally nonchalant, with absolutely no emotion): I totally think the old way was better. You just lay down.
Me (calming down a bit thinking that I liked the old way too)
4th grader: Because then you’re laying down and they just shoot you and it’s over.
Me: Ok, that is it, no more of this talk, I can’t do it.
10th grade son and 7th grade daughter: Snickering.
Me to my 10th grader: Do you have drills?
10th grader: Um, no. Maybe we had a fire one last year?
What is going on?!!!
All 3 of my kids are in the car, chatting away like we’re talking about a recent movie seen, or what type of toppings they would order on frozen yogurt, and with each sentence stated by one of my kids in their calm, matter of fact voice, this is me:
And I could not make up this next part if I tried… Playing outside later that night, my 9 year old says ‘hey mom, this is how we are supposed to run if there is a stranger on campus drill at school.’ And she proceeded to run across the grass, pretty much having fun, in a zig zag pattern. She then wanted me to try. As I had to almost laugh that I was going to run the ‘stranger zig zag pattern’, I rationalized that I was playing with my kid, so that’s good right? After my zig zag debut, my 9 year old gave me a look like ‘ya, you’re a goner if it ever happens.’ So, I lost in the game of zig zag pattern stranger running? I have no words…
Maybe it’s good that they are so matter of fact with all of this. But it blows my mind still. Again, glad that there are procedures in place to make our kids safe, and so thankful for my kids schools and their teachers. But I have to almost laugh at the panic it creates in me, while my 3 kids are in an almost zen place when discussing this topic.
In case you missed it, here is why this post is labeled as number 3:
- Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb (1)
- Our children’s reality, uncomfortably numb (2)