Dr. Mike Davis reflects on events in Boulder

Dr. Mike DavisSpring Break should not have to be interrupted with the note I’m about to share. Still, the new act of senseless violence at a Boulder grocery store cannot go unremarked. We are all part of the Colorado community, and I am compelled to reach out and share feelings and reactions that I’m sure so many of you are likely experiencing as well.

Today, we are learning more about the 10 lives lost, including a police officer. We grieve for their families and the Boulder community. We’ll get to know their stories, as the world discusses another Colorado shooting. Family and friends will gather in grief. Communities will show condolences and empathy for all who are hurting. Many who were nowhere close to the grocery store will experience pain. Many are still hurting from the shootings in Atlanta just last week. I’m taking it all in, just shaking my head.

Just as I fear the long-term impact of the pandemic on this generation, I have deep concern for the long-term impact that violence will have on their lives. This is not something we can be desensitized to. The cause and motives for deaths of innocent people need to be examined, and efforts need to be made to curb the amount of violence that we and our children experience. Our children are growing up in communities where it feels like no place can promise protection—not a school, not a church, not a movie theater, not a grocery store—these common places that each of us visit in the course of our lives.

Like so many in our community, my thoughts first went to my own children. Two of my children attend CU Boulder. So many CA grads attend and have graduated from our state’s flagship university. They know and have shopped in the grocery store where the killing took place. Being away from my kids, as I took a camping trip to connect with friends in Utah, makes it all that much more difficult because I am not able to be home and hug them.

Perhaps that is the one message I can share. Hug your kids. Give them the safety net they need to learn from mistakes they may make with unconditional love and caring. If you sense a more serious mental health issue, get help. Create opportunities for your children to ask questions. Calm their fears without overpromising that their world can always be safe. Prepare them for the unexpected. Next week, CA counselors will create opportunities for students to talk through any fears or concerns. Parents can also refer to this tip sheet on talking to children about violence. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your divisional counselor, if you have any concerns regarding your child.

Living through the pandemic has taught us there is no escaping traumatic events. What we can do as the CA community is commit to keeping one another strong and to looking forward to a more promising future.