Kelly Counselor's Conversations

A discussion about life and how school counseling fits into it all


on January 19, 2014

This week, the unimaginable happened in my hometown of Elkhart, Indiana- a gunman walked into one of our local grocery stores and opened fire, killing a store employee and a customer before the police shot and killed him.

All in a matter of about five minutes.

I’m not going to go on with more details, but if you’d like them, read this story here:

Since the school I work at is 30 minutes away from Elkhart, I didn’t expect to have to encounter anything first-hand with students the next day.  I was wrong.

I was teaching a guidance lesson at the beginning of the school day, so I missed two of my students come in, one very upset.  That morning, their mother had told them the shooter was her third cousin.  I called her before meeting with the upset student to get the facts.  She told me she did not have a relationship with her cousin, and that her daughters had never met them.

I thanked her for letting me know, ensured we would keep an eye on her girls, and hung up.  But I really wanted to ask her, “why did you even tell them, then!?”

By the time I followed up with the student, she said she was feeling better after briefly talking with her teacher about it.  As a seven year-old, I’m sure developmentally it was shocking and she was unsure on how to handle it.

I found myself wanting to complain (ok, as a friend and colleague says, “weenie whine”) for the rest of the day- what’s a third cousin, anyway!?  Why did I have to deal with this when it happened in a different town?  Again, why did she even bother to tell them!!??

After I got home that night, I found myself reflecting.  It’s really easy to blame this on, for instance, Ruby Payne’s norms of poverty or something related.  But I wondered- would I surely not share this with my kids?  Not being a mother yet, and coming from a family of “T.M.I.ers”, can I ensure something wouldn’t slip out?  How many of us share unnecessary information regularly just because it’s something to talk about?

In talking with this mother, and having a rapport with her, I know she was as good-intentioned as she could be.  And the reality is, these instances are becoming more common.  I suppose I’m not trying to make any particular point except to reflect before judging.

Shooting vigil


One response to “T.M.I.

  1. Flo Monger says:

    A wise man once said to me, ” condemnation is easier than investigation”. It has stayed with me for years and, unfortunately, has proven to be true too many times.

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