During our discussion, he told me something that shocked me and will remain with me forever.
I sat for close to two hours with a wonderful young man* in Kelowna, just genuinely listening to him with care.
Among many other things, we discussed the Moment of Silence program.
Here's how it works.
“We will shortly begin our studies in arithmetic, geography and many other subjects which are all in fact important, for they will enable you to make a living and provide for your many needs. Before we start learning though, we will give you a minute to be silent.
It’s an opportunity to think about your life!”
Students then reflect upon life values that their parents taught them.
When done during school hours, it sends a strong message that morality, respect and goodness are as important as the daily curriculum itself.
Additionally, when done first thing in the morning, it sets the tone and foundation for the whole day.
Knowing that studies will not begin until this is done, is empowering!
The young man in my story, neither Jewish nor religious himself, was so appreciative that I did this minute with him.
Moment of silence is not a religious ritual.
Yes, we believe that G-d created each one of us in His image. Each with a purpose to create, just like Him. He watches and listens with love, eagerly hoping that we use His gift of life to co-create a more beautiful world together.
However, even one who doesn't believe in G-d, certainly values Justice, respect, goodness and so on. Remember, only parents can tell their children what to think during this minute. Not the teachers.
Every one of us can share these values with our children before school, reminding them to think every single day about respecting others and being considerate. How hurt we are when a friend steals from us or lies to us, and that we shouldn't do it to others.
Not because we’re afraid of getting punished or of the police, but because we start our day with knowing that this is the proper behaviour for good people on this planet.
The key for this to be successful is that it be a daily habit, and begin from childhood.
Click here for a heart warming video of the evidence.
The Rebbe began advocating for this program in 1962 as prayer became illegal in Public Schools. It was the best substitute, and it included everyone.
Could this have prevented the current situation?
Although it may seem small, the impact seen by those who heeded his call has been absolutely astounding.
Click here to see a school principle, talking passionately about it, and reminding us not to wait until it gets bad but to start with this program right away.
After doing a moment of silence together with the young man in my story, he said something that I'll never forget.
"Wow. This is amazing. I believe in it, because I could have been one of those kids who ran into my school with a gun and……... my own classmates, so senselessly " (Heaven forbid) ---
That’s when my heart dropped....
It was just so painful!
It was also a very powerful and enlightening moment though!
“Can you believe it?” I slowly exclaimed with excitement!
"I was divinely stationed in Kelowna to be here for you. Does it not sound correct to say that you are stationed here for someone else too?"
"There’s (at least) one person out there who you will bring life and light to, and they’re waiting for your impact to reach them, eventually. "
"And hey, you might help many more along the way as well."
"Your footsteps are your domain, where goodness and kindness you must make reign."
We ended up having such a mutually wonderful time together.
"Thank you for giving me such an enriching and positive take away for life, and a larger-than-life reason to live every day! Thank you for your time..." he concluded.
Not through fear of the police did he not walk into his school and shoot down his classroom.
Just one minute of silence!
It just so happened (By Divine providence) that the next day, I met with a Professor of Psychology at UBCO, who is very interested in implementing this initiative in his classroom.
If you are a parent, teacher or principle, please contact me privately.
Let’s get this in our schools, NOW!
60 seconds of silence, at the start of each day, can change our classrooms and our communities forever.
Between the first and second sip of your morning coffee, can be a perfect time for this moment of silence to impact your home too.
Close your eyes for just 60 seconds, and have your own moment of silence.
I saw the evidence, first hand, last year, at this time, with this young man.
Let’s do it together for the next generation.
*Name withheld for privacy purposes.