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1. Tragedy in Nashville

What it is: A shooting at a Christian elementary school in Nashville left seven people dead and left parents, children, and the Christian community angry, confused, and bereft.
Why the media’s coverage has drawn controversy: The perpetrator of the shooting at The Covenant School was born female, but identified as male in recent months. Some pundits were quick to draw a connection between the shooting and recently passed legislation in Tennessee that limits trans medical care for minors, even musing that the shooter’s motive was vengeance against conservatives. The truth is most likely more complicated. Even as the nation grieves the heavy and incalculable loss of these innocent lives, culture warriors continue to sling arrows at opposing sides over who is really to blame here. Kids and teens may be feeling more anxious than usual about whether they are safe at school in the wake of such events—a response that is as valid as it is heartbreaking.

2. Back in the Fold

What it is: The television adaptation of the YA fantasy series “Shadow and Bone” debuted its second season last week, and it has been trending high on Netflix ever since.
What to know about it: The TV version of “Shadow and Bone” is quite different from its source material, combining characters from different time periods to create a richer cast of characters. Heroine Alina, also known as the Sun Summoner, thought she had defeated her nemesis, the traitorous Count Kirigin, at the conclusion of season 1. Now on the run as a fugitive with her childhood best friend and current love interest, Mal, Alina realizes that Kirigin survived their encounter and has returned to torment her native people, the Ravkans, with monsters he controls and a cursed wall full of nightmarish beasts, called “The Fold,” that he manipulates and expands at his will. Alina’s quest this season revolves around finding mythical beings that can amplify her magic powers and allow her to defeat Kirigin for good. Parents should know that this show has themes of loyalty and positive female role models, but also incorporates violent imagery, a pervasive, dark magic whose source is unnamed, and portrayals of same sex attraction.

3. Self-Harm on the Rise

What it is: New data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that the portion of pediatric mental health hospitalizations involving suicide or self-harm increased by 34 percentage points in ten years.
Why this adds to our picture of the mental health crisis: This analysis of millions of pediatric hospital admissions shows how a stretched healthcare infrastructure has struggled to adapt to the increased number of mental health emergencies. Another striking figure: Suicidal behavior is now the cause of 12.7 percent of all pediatric hospitalizations, an increase from 3.5 percent just a decade ago. Weighing in on these findings, medical professionals told the New York Times that children between 11 and 14 were experiencing a sharp increase in their risk for self-harm. They also said that in instances with this middle school age group, suicidal behavior often stems from an impulsive moment (such as an argument with a parent or bullying at school) that the young person is not equipped with coping skills to handle.

Song of the Week

“All Of The Girls You Loved Before” by Taylor Swift: Originally recorded for her 2019 album “Lover,” this previously unreleased song was leaked on TikTok before Swift decided to release it officially. Reaching #5 on Spotify and #12 on Billboard, the song is about expressing appreciation for your significant other’s exes for helping your partner become the person they are today. An article from the UK’s The Independent frames the song as a kind of consolation prize for failing to get tickets to Swift’s Eras tour. For the song’s lyrics, click here.

Translation: Tragedy in Nashville

We have created resources to help parents and caring adults have conversations about violence and school shootings. Consider our Conversation Kit on Violence, our Parent’s Guide to School Shootings, our Parent’s Guide to Talking About Violence, and our Parent’s Guide to Anxiety, for starters.

The shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville marks the 123rd mass shooting of 2023, or the 130th, depending on how you measure it.

What else can we say? This miserable world is not our home—at least not in its current state. But that does not mean that spiritualized resignation is our only option; real change is possible. We pray for God to break through strongholds of complacency, despair, and self-interest in order to give all relevant parties a supernatural infusion of purpose, wisdom, and empathy, so that this epidemic might finally end.

If you want to talk with your teens about this, here are three questions you can ask:

  • How does hearing about another school shooting make you feel?
  • What do you wish more adults understood about how this affects teens?
  • Is there anything we can do as a family to be part of the solution?