Last week our school district went on lock down. It was the second time this year. The first was a false alarm (prank call) and this one was in response to a 32-year old man who thought it was OK to peek in on girls going to the bathroom. (He was later arrested after a car chase and is currently being booked on several charges of sexual assault).

Neither time did I nor the majority of the students or parents know what it was while it was happening. We just got a text message that the schools were on lock down.

It was scary AF.

Now, before you think this is another rant about: condemning thoughts and prayers, or hating the NRA, or cheering for armed teachers, or lamenting our lack of mental health funding, or blaming bullying.

It’s not.

I’m tired of picking a side, digging in, and deciding that everyone who might have a different idea is either an idiot, an asshole, or a fool.

Guess what. You’re all right. And wrong. And that’s OK. I work in the world of words and communications. It shocks me still how hard it is for people to forget the most important part of communications.

Listening.

Yes, that means listening to to people who don’t agree with you, too.

Next week schools across the country (including those in our community) will be walking out on March 14 to demonstrate that something has to be done. Good. I think its critical that youth get involved in solving problems that directly impact them.

The week following youth across the country (including Seattle) are Marching for Our Lives en masse to demand something be done. But maybe the most critical thing they are demanding is simply this:

LISTEN TO US!!

Teens are probably the most under-listened-to group in society. But they are smarter that we give them credit and they are often a lot more open minded and willing to set aside differences and disagreements than their parents.

Let’s start listening to them. That means shutting up and not giving them our ideas and patting them on the back for spouting them back to us or demeaning them when they don’t.

Let’s shut up for a little bit and let the kids have an uninterrupted voice. We might be surprised what ideas they come up with when we get out of their way.

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