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What’s Missing? Can We Solve the Problem of Gun Violence in Schools?

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Heart, Soul, Mind and Body

What’s missing? A simple question, yet, one which I often feel we miss when we seek to solve problems of humanity. As a society we often seek to solve a problem from our personal or engrained perspective. In the case of gun violence on our campuses I feel this re-occurring to a great extent.

Think about it, when we align with a group, we tend to generalize and seek to apply similar logic to the problems we face:

If we are politicians, we seek to legislate, rule, and govern, yet, with fear that we will lose popularity with those who align with us if we go against our perspective of their will.

If we are religious, we seek to pray for and send thoughts to those in need, seek to change others to our way of thinking, and we hope for change, while we often do not seek to address the other prevailing issues of the day that need changing.

If we are educators, we seek to teach, support and guide, and yet we are corralled by the rules of the system, limited by resources, and told to do better. (Take up arms? REALLY?)

If we are first responders, we seek to protect, act,and ensure safety, at the risk of our own lives, and yet, we cannot be everywhere, protect everyone, and stop time to solve problems that have yet to occur.

I know I am generalizing on a grand scale, and thoughts and actions are not always aligned to certain ways by groups, and still, my point is, when we seek to solve a problem from our current perspective, we tend to come up with the same actions for many problems, rather than to build our perspective first, towards attacking the current problem in a multi-faceted manner.

In the case of our children, who engage in heinous acts, who are focused on the destruction of others, I ask again, “What’s missing?”

I think we all should be asking this question to help us understand the problem better, to identify what led them to this path, and what discover alternatives we might be able to provide that could have derailed their focus before they got there. I think this approach might help us to realize that there doesn’t exist just one answer, to the problem!

Unfortunately: The politician will never allow the masses to rid the world of guns!

Unfortunately: No matter how much we provide thoughts and prayers, while providing comfort to many, will not bring people back to life, nor heal all who may contemplating acting to harm others.

Unfortunately: We can’t jut lock everyone up who we believe has some type of mental illness! Quite frankly, a number of us would be put away!

Insanity: There is no appropriate way of arming teachers, having a security guard at the entrance to every school, or having a good kid, bad kid scanner that will buzz whenever someone is having negative thoughts, and simply put, turning schools into military zones would not protect everyone inside.

Many, smarter than I individuals, have said it, we must have a multi-faceted approach that seeks to support each person with finding balance within their heart, soul, mind, and body. We must then work towards appropriate, sensible, logical, parameters to ensure, as best we can, that if a person’s heart, soul, mind and body are not in balance, and if they are seeking to do damage to others, that we have safeguards in place to stop them, and that we have done everything we can do to protect others!

Some ideas:

Socio-Emotional Learning:

We must invest in a multi-pronged approach to provide services at all of our schools, through trained professionals, through our medical providers, and through our governmental agencies for individuals at all stages of their lives. With curriculum programs that focus on building positive and strong mental health development, we would then allow for our children to grow in peace, and to build their personal resilience skills, problem solving skills, and to develop an approach to life that is well-balanced. These types of services are needed throughout our lives. Thus, we should work to ensure that mental health services are provided through medical care providers to all, free of charge, and that everyone within our governmental agencies are trained in also providing levels of service that seek to guide, support, and assist with making healthy choices.

Hope, Inspiration and Goal Building:

There is a difference between providing mental health services to ensure that individuals are developing positive mental health strategies, and in building individuals who aspire to greatness, through a positive style of living, have internal hopes, dreams and goals, and who want to make our world better for themselves and others. Some might say that religion is the owner of this arena, yet, I would say that the ideas of supporting each person to hope, be inspired, and develop goals, can also be owned by individuals, our educational institutions, health organizations, and community and service-oriented groups. Yes, hope, inspiration and goal building can come from a variety of sources, and we must build opportunities for more positive to exist in our world than negative.

Legislation, Rules, and Governance:

If you are still with me, thanks! Here is the tricky part!

We must continue to build a new way of thinking that will create a tipping point in the mind of our legislators! It appears to me that mny of them have solidified their beliefs that there are simply far too many people who have bought guns in the past, or who will buy guns in the future, who back the NRA, so strongly, that they can never rise up against them!

This must change! As a society we own the responsibility of helping them to see there is a different possibility, a new paradigm, a different perspective. We must help them see that they do not need to continue to be beholden to the NRA. They do not need to sustain their misbeliefs that everyone feels the need to own a gun, and that somewhow, these weapons of mass destruction that were created to cause ultimate death and destruction to enemies on the battlefield of our government, must be allowed into the hands of an average citizen!

This must change! Real and complete background checks, limits on types of weapons, registration and review of licenses to continue to own weapons, safety training, and possibly even gun buy-back for destruction programs are some ideas. I am not fool hardy enough to believe that we can rid the world of guns, but for the love of God, we must have limitations that seek to protect the masses, rather than to protect the rights of some, that are not truly rights listed in our constitution!

Safety:

School facility funding is far too low, and practically nonexistent from the federal level, and simply doesn’t meet the needs of a society that needs to protect its most valuable resources, our children. When each district in each state is left to its own design to pay for design, development, construction, and safety of schools, there becomes another field of inequity for the children of our communities. If we truly believe that we must have consistent levels of security at each of our schools, such as: closed perimeters, access through a limited secure entry, guards on the outside of our schools monitoring the permiters, safety locks to protect those inside at any moment, school-wide communication systems that can be used by many at the drop of a hat, then we need an enormous infusion of dollars to accomplish this! It is far to easy to say, we need these things, and then to leave the responsibility to local authorities to fund these ideas, with no new resources. Dear legislator, put your money where your mouth is, and invest in all of our schools to ensure the safety of all of our children!

This issue hits home!

Far too often we see these horrific scenes play out on our televisions, and far too often, we see the aftermath, the arm chair quarterbacking, and the retreat to old ways of thinking to protect our perspectives.

What I call for is a new way of solution building. Ask, “What’s missing?” Take time to review, before jumping into a solution that is based in your current perspective, and seek new ideas, all ideas, to combat these types of heinous acts at all levels. Please, now is the time! If not, us, then who? If not now, then when? If not you, then who? We ll own this problem. Let’s work together to solve it!

Let’s take the lead of our children, who have had enough #NeverAgain

Let’s let the life our children live be the measure of our succes!

Dr. Rob Martinez is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, and is well known as “ResiliencyGuy” Please follow in on @Twitter as @ResiliencyGuy or on his Facebook page.

#ACSAPowerfulTogether

#VOTESupeRob4VP

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#ONEWISH

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I wonder, if you had #OneWish what would it be?

I know, some of you might not believe in wishes. I mean the magic of Christmas is a couple of months behind us, and the lure of St. Paty’s day is still around the corner, and we are a few days from the hunt of Cupid’s bow, yet, each day, I believe that we can make our own magic. I also believe that magic has the power to initiate thoughts, dreams, inspiration, and that we must have personal wishes that lead to hope, more thought, ideas, and actions.

So, this morning, I ask you, what is your #onewish?

Here’s my #onewish: For each child to be provided an environment where they can grow in peace, be engaged, be supported, be empowered, allowed to innovate, create, and develop the #resilience skills to become the persons they choose to be, who in turn, will place the needs of those in their world above themselves.

Some might say, this type of pie in the sky wish is simply unattainable, yet, I state again, that I believe we must have wishes, which lead to hope, which leads to more thought, dreams, inspiration, ideas, action. Then, once we allow these wishes to percolate to cogitate in our brains, hearts, souls, and minds, the potential for a new way, system, paradigm and an improved world becomes closer!

I do hope that you never give on #wishing, that you plan for it, and that place some passion behind your wishes to empower yourself in your world. Please let me know what your #Onewish is and how you are trying to make it happen.

#ACSAPowerfulTogether #VOTESuperRob4VP #ACSABuildsLeaders

Dr. Rob Martinez is known as @ResiliencyGuy. He often speaks on issues of #resiliency development and is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. He is currently running for the Vice President position for the Association of California School Administrators #ACSA

Do you see your shadow?

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Did you see your shadow? Are you hiding in the shadows? Have you found your spotlight? Will you share your light with those around you?

Questions, questions, questions, all about ourselves.

Are you happy with your answers?

Often enough we move from moment to moment, day to day, etc., and we do not stop and consider what we have either accomplished during our moments and days, or if we are actually being successful. We might either be resting in our own shadow, comfortable and calm, or we might be dancing in the sunlight ready to move forward. For each person the choice to hide in the shadows or dance in the light is personal, yet, if we become too comfortable in one location we just may fail to gain the perspective from another view. Strive to see yourself and others from multiple perspectives.

Try to appreciate the coolness in the shadows, while also recognizing the warmth from standing in the light. Learn to move back and forth between the shadows and light, while allowing those around you to shine, and rest as needed. It’s knowing that the flexibility inherent in being a human adds to the greater mastery called life. Peace!

Dr. Rob Martinez often writes on issues of #Resilience and is becoming well known as @ResiliencyGuy on twitter!

#SEEKBEAUTY – My 2018 Theme

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#SeekBeauty

As 2018 begins, and I mindfully reconcile the reality that this year I will turn 55 years old, I have tried to be more cognizant of the world around me, and the world that I assist in creating for others. Some might say, well, that’s maturity setting in, or others might simply say, finally. I like to think of it as continuing to grow, and my focus on seeking to recognize the importance that each of us has in the world and our impact on others.

Many of my friends and family members take time at the New Year to set resolutions, start some new habits, and or contemplate their place in the world, and their impacts on others, and I too have been thinking about what to focus on in this New Year., 2018

I landed on these two words that I hope will guide my this year: #SeekBeauty

#SeekBeauty in life, love, family, relationships, myself, friends, co-workers, colleagues, students, children, animals, land, air, water, food, fitness, learning, teaching, playing, being, all, #SeekBeauty

I know that #beauty is relative, and I do have many beautiful relatives, but that’s another story. What I mean by beauty in this case is to seek to understand the true, innate, beauty that is apparent in our world, that we frequently overlook, disregard, give little time to, and let slip away, when we should be appreciating it, caring and cultivating it, and bringing it into our hearts, minds and souls.

Life, love, family, relationships are the nourishment that we need to sustain our hearts, minds, souls, and yet, so many times we take for granted those that are in our lives, love us, are our family, and those whose relationships truly mean more to us than anything. There is beauty in each opportunity to grow these relationships that we must seek to appreciate. There is beauty in each conversation, touch, embrace, glance, and yet, we sometimes treat those we care the most about in the worst ways. I am seeking to see the beauty that is provided to me each day, and I hope you do the same. Notice, and appreciate each moment, and let others know you care, and see the beauty that is in them.

I am seeking to find the beauty that is in me. Yes, I might seem silly, and yet, the old question is accurate: “How can you love somebody, if you don’ love yourself?” In this case, I don’t mean in a narcissistic way, I mean to love yourself is to care for yourself. Care about what you eat, drink, do with your body. Are you moving, exercising, giving your body fresh air, water, nutrition that can help you? Are you providing your entire system with what it needs to sustain, to battle the vile parts of the world that seek to damage your body? Not one of us has the same system, so you have got to find what works for you, and then as the saying goes, #DoIt. Feed your mind, feed your heart, feed your soul.

Each of us spends time with co-workers, colleagues, clients, community, etc., and if we are wise and looking for it, there is beauty there as well. Again, this is not just a physical thing, it is in the way so many positive, good, caring people live and go about their lives. If you spend a few minutes watching the news you can quickly become filled with frustration, and disgust at many acts of a few, and yet, we frequently have hundreds of positive acts going on around us that we fail to notice by our community members. A door being opened, a friendly hello, a phone being answered, work being accomplished with service, a caring hand, a hug goodbye, are but a few of the moments that add to the beauty of the day. I challenge you, as I have challenged myself to see it, appreciate it, let it fill your heart with knowledge that people are beautiful!

Yes, the world that we live in is a beautiful place, and I also believe that it is up to us to create more beauty for our children, our students, our pets, those we care for, those who have lost the ability to see the beauty, though they still have sight. We must work to create beauty, be the best within us, and help each other #seekbeauty. I’m not sure if we will ever all get to this wonderful place that I am seeking to find, though I do believe that the journey would be a lot more pleasant if we all tried to create more beauty, and to find more beauty in each other.

Here’s hoping that you all #seekbeauty in yourself, others, and our world.

Dr. Robert A. Martinez is also known as @ResiliencyGuy He tweets, blogs, and seeks to share thoughts about the world, and our ability to empower each other with our actions, thoughts, and goals.

Powerful Together

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“Powerful Together”

As I sit for a moment and allow my thoughts to calm, focus, and reflect, I was struck when I thought about the synergy of energy that occurs when people work together. It could be two people, a handful, or even 18,000 strong, and what happens is that the pure energy that can be created by one person is multiplied many times over, when two of more connect. I see this as being #PowerfulTogether.

Several times in my life I had the opportunity to work side-by-side with my father. It might have been in the garage, the backyard, at his work-site, or even washing the cars, and each time we worked together he guided me, he taught me, he explained to me, and he listened to me. In those moments, I was learning, growing, and developing and becoming more “Powerful.” Each moment, each lesson, each caring minute was empowering to me, and I can see now that in those moments, my father was also becoming “Powerful” as a man, a role model, a teacher, a guide, and a caring compassionate individual.

At other times in my life, I have worked with groups of people focused on many shared missions. Whether it was through Site Council at our children’s school, little league, youth soccer, and even my college fraternity. Or, in professional orgnizaions such as the Association of California School Administrators, our ACSA Solano Charter, my school district’s Cabinet Leadershp Team. In each of these groups, the ideas that were Crete by the group process could never have come forward from one mind. The “Power” in these moments is palpable. For each person involved in such an endeavor there is an art form that occurs. The skills of communication, perspective building, creating, being innovative and building true actionable strategies to get the mission accomplished are all enhanced when we work with others.

This morning, I have been nominated for the Vice President position for the Association of California School Administrators, an organization of 18,000 plus school administrators and leaders, who are focused on supporting each of our 6.5 million public education students in the state. I believe that our inclusive members are truly #POWERFULTOGETHER!

I am humbled by this nomination, and excited about the opportunity to work with each of our members to build leaders, to share experiences, to become more powerful, in the way my father became powerful, by working with me hand-in-hand. I envision that each member with whom I can connect through this process I can learn from, and I hope to be able to serve them in some way. If you are an #ACSA member, that’s great, and please consider telling your Region leadership to consider my candidacy. If you are simply looking to grow and evolve, to develop and learn, to increase your personal power, then I tell you to become a part of a group, work with people, build your skills, and in turn, you will build them. It is in our hands, we simply need to act and connect. #PowerfulTogether.

Dr. Rob Martinez, AKA @ResiliencyGuy is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, currently a Board of Director for Region 4 for ACSA, and is running for the Vice President position for ACSA. “Let the life we help others live be the measure of our success.”( Martinez, 2013)

The Skies Out Tonight

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The morning of 9/11/2001, as I readied to go to work, and prepared to leave my wife at home with our two youngest sons, aged 19 months, and 1 month old, we were both crying, and upset by the news of the attack. I was a school psychologist at the time, and believed that my family was safe, and that I could be more use at work. So off I went to ensure that the children of the schools I served were doing ok. The rest of the day was a blur. I remember checking on classrooms, teachers, and many students who we knew had parents in the military, and or were on assignment and were out of the area. That night, all the planes were grounded, the skies were silent, and these words came to me. I wrote them down, and tucked them away. I remember reading these words each day, somewhat like a prayer over that first month. Today, as I was reviewing several documents that I wrote during that time, I found these words, and decided to spontaneously record myself singing them. No music, other than me. Well, the result is here for you to view, and the words are written below.

It is sixteen years later, to the day, that I wrote these words, and I believe that more than ever, we need to reconnect to the strength that we collectively have. We are a strong nation, and are stronger when we come together. I hope you find some relevance in these words, and I hope that you hold the hope in your life in high regards.

My best to you always, Dr. Rob Martinez, AKA @ResiliencyGuy on @Twitter

The Skies Out Tonight

Chorus

The skies out tonight are silent.

The skies out tonight are silent.

No planes fly tonight, they lay still.

The skies out tonight are silent.

But I can see

The American Eagle soar

Like I’ve never seen before.

He lives in us all.

And I can hear

The American Voices Sing

You might test our strength,

But we will survive,

And we will shine through.

Chorus

The skies out tonight are silent.

The skies out tonight are silent.

No planes fly tonight, they lay still.

The skies out tonight are silent.

But I can feel

The American Spirit

We’ll fight through the day,

We’ll fight though the night,

To keep it alive!

Our strength,

You cannot take!

Our hope,

You cannot faze!

Our faith,

You cannot break!

Our love,

Will overcome!

Chorus

The skies out tonight are silent.

The skies out tonight are silent.

But soon, they will roar again.

Yes, soon they will roar again.

For we all can sense,

Our American pride,

We’ve gathered as one,

We won’t be outdone,

We’ll fight till we’ve won!

Our strength,

You cannot take!

Our hope,

You cannot faze!

Our faith,

You cannot break!

Our love,

Will overcome!

The skies out tonight are silent.

The skies out tonight are silent.

(To fade)

Written by

Robert A. Martinez, Ed.D.

9/11/01

Passion! What Will Lead You, To Lead Them?

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Passion! What will lead you, to lead them?

As another school year is just around the bend, I found myself in reflection on the following: “Passion! What will lead me to lead them?” I heard my dad’s feint voice telling me over and over, “If you follow your passion, you won’t ever feel that you are wasting a day.” He said this to me as a child, as a student, as a parent, and every time I would share with him about the toils of my day as an educator, and now I reflect on these words practically every day.

Quite frankly, I have many personal passions in my life: my wife, my life, my children, my friends, my health, having fun, my pets, my children’s friends, and the list goes on. And, then, I think about my professional passions, which I focus on and include many #educational issues such as: #resilience, #equity, #access for #opportunity, #engagement strategies, #inclusion, #support, #thoughtfulness, #puposeful approaches, #empowerment, and #leadership, to name a few.

So, as all of these ideas are flying through my frontal lobe, and competing for priority status within my mind, it could be overwhelming without employing strategies for reflection, self-accountability, strategizing, planning for actions, and actual follow through. I do this by not simply hoping that I can make a difference and improve the state of these issues in the world, though hope is absolutely needed as a strategy to effect change. I do this by making a determination to actually create an impact in my world with respect to these issues, and then by doing something about my thoughts.

Here are my examples: I think, I conducted research, I write, I speak, I engage about #resilience. I provide my mind with data regarding the lack of #equity and the importance of #opportunities for all children by reading, listening, and tracking the issues that interest me. I learn about #engagement strategies by participating in professional development, staying abreast of the latest in technology, and by communicating to those that have knowledge in my immediate circles, and through social media. Yes, a big thank you to #twitter, #Facebook, #linkedin, #instagram, and to those that seek to share ideas through these social media connections.

I am focused on listening, watching, and learning all of the time. I work to be #inclusive in my work place, remain committed to opportunities to learn about people, and strive to offer #support when I can to all. I work hard to be #purposeful in my words, actions, and deeds, to make a positive difference, and to not place any boundaries in front of others. I seek to #empower each person that I meet to think, to challenge themselves, to build a new skill or reclaim an old one, to take that step towards personal fulfillment, and to make decisions that positively impact them and those in their worlds. Dear reader, I seek to #lead!

Now, I say all this, not to receive a pat on the back, though that would be #awesome! I say this as a way to continue to challenge myself with the aspiration of striving to truly become this person. For the cumulative effects of being this person to those I am passionate about, and improving the work that I am passionate about and focused on, is the goal! If I were to be this person, if I were to strive to become this person, if I am able to get one step closer to being this person, then, I have to believe that the world of others just might be a little bit better, and truly, what loftier goal is there?

So, now, I ask you to consider: “Passion, what will lead you to lead them?” Are you a child, a student, a parent, an educator, a committed individual who wants to change the world? What is your passion? How are you living it? How are you striving to become who you want to be? How are you strategizing and implementing the actions that are part of your goals, you plan, your life? Who is it that you will lead to a better place? And, should you continue to wait to plan, or get started becoming who you want to be?

Caution now, as there is no need to eat the whole apple with one bite! The journey to becoming you, and following your passion, is a trip to be savored one bite at a time. Your steps are each important, and need to be recognized as part of the approach to who you will become. Yet, you do recall that this is a one-time ticket to your life, right? So I truly hope that you make a decision to take that step, think consciously about what you are passionate about, plan just one step, and get moving.

@ResiliencyGuy AKA Dr. Rob, Robert A. Martinez, Ed.D., is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. He presents and engages on the importance of “Transformational Resilience” and seeks to build the capacity of those he meets to support the development of #Resilince for all children. Follow him on @Twitter as @ResiliencyGuy or @DrRobM_FSUSD, or on Facebook as “Resiliency Guy”