Assets in Action: Be alert, be aware

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

The Assets program oversees the local coordination of a program called Change of Heart.
The seven-hour curriculum is about improving school climate. It focuses on more than bullying — like the foundational relationships and life experiences that mold youth throughout their school years.
After what happened in Aurora, Colo., on Friday, I feel I would be remiss not to address it, at least on a local level.
I’m actually quite impressed that we haven’t seen everyone that has ever known the shooter coming forward to have their say and get their 15-minutes of fame.
Their police department isn’t leaking out every detail of what is going on post-event. They are releasing what needs to be known and that’s it.
As individuals, what we should take from this event is how we act every day, in every situation.
My uneducated guess is that someone should have noticed something. Someone could have noticed if this young man had no friends, someone could have noticed he was receiving boxes from gun shops.
It is the small details that people pick up on that often result in tragic events not happening on a daily basis — we just don’t get to hear about them as much.
In a person’s late teens and early 20s is when many cases of bipolar disorder can be diagnosed. You would think someone would notice odd behavior.
I’m not asking you to be best buddies with everyone that seems troubled. I’m asking you to lift your head and take your eyes off your shoes when walking down the sidewalk and give someone a smile, a nod or a friendly word.
Open your eyes when you are driving your car and see the world around you, not just the one in front of you.
Spend one week not saying a negative thing at all and provide a self-imposed consequence if you do.
That means, not a word of negativity to your children, even if they mess up the house. That means not a negative word about work, even if on one given day, everyone appears to be a moron.
Hold on, there’s more.
When you are driving through town, hold your tongue when someone accidentally pulls in front of you, turns too quickly or doesn’t signal.
Don’t post on Facebook or Tweet every negative feeling, thought, deed or occurrence.
I have one more thing to say and this may be the hardest of all: don’t talk back to the television or radio.
If you hear something you don’t like, keep it to yourself. Don’t worry, I am guilty of it occasionally, too.
Especially during political season, the multitude of commercials, phone calls and surveys has tongues ready to wag.
I’d love to give you an equally lengthy list of good deeds you can do if you can’t mind your mouth, but I will give you just one.
If you can’t say something nice, then force yourself to give someone a compliment, send a thank you note or right a wrong.
So for one week, accentuate the positive, remember the old adage, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it all,” then let me know how you do.
You see folks, we really need to get back to basics. If we don’t change our behaviors and attitudes, we will not change a thing. The bad news is, it is often hard to do and the good news is, it doesn’t cost a thing.

The Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce sponsor Assets in Action.