How many times in recent years have we heard accused killers in school violence described as a “…quiet, normal kid?” http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/24/justice/massachusetts-chism-profile/index.html
This week’s senseless murder of a 24 year old math teacher in Massachusetts, has us all asking the same old questions, “Why didn’t anyone see warning signs in this student? How could someone who appeared so nice and normal commit such a violent crime?”
A friend and teammate described the 14 year old accused killer saying, “He was a really nice kid–had a great smile…kinda shy; kinda quiet…” http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/25/justice/massachusetts-danvers-school-killing/
So, we are left wondering how so much anguish, rage, depression, confusion, or mental torment could exist inside a teenager’s mind to drive him to murder, while those who knew him saw no signs or warnings of what was going on in his mind.
How much effort and energy do we invest in going beyond the superficial greetings and platitudes of those with whom we interact? How much attention do we actually pay to their body language and facial expressions? How often do we really look into the eyes of someone else to gauge how they might be feeling? How much attention does our education system pay to teaching our students social and emotional intelligence? How well are our schools helping students learn how to identify and manage their emotions appropriately?
What does “normal” really look like? One of the leading brain experts, Dr. Dan Siegel, talks with Goldie Hawn, campaigner for mindfulness, about the power of mindfulness for children and youth. Click on the link below to listen to their TEDMED talk. Also, to learn more about the teenage mind, check out Dr. Dan Siegel’s new book, Brainstorm.