Denali Northern Expenditure

Mosaic Thoughts After a School Shooting

“Mosaic thoughts” means these thoughts are all over the place and the only connector is the most recent school shooting:

Life is Heavy Sometimes

The weight of this school shooting really hit me the next day after I dropped Lui off at preschool. I returned home to an empty house and instead of getting anything done at all, I just wept. For a really long time. I cried again later that day when I heard Pink’s song on the radio: “What about us? What about all the times you said you had the answers?” – We’re failing our children. And it hurts.

The weight really made me ask myself a few questions this week:

  • If any of my family members died today, would they die knowing I love them? What was the last thing I said to them and how did I say it?
  • If I knew any of my children had just one year left to live, what would I change about this next year?
  • With so much darkness in the world, how can I bring light?

Light up YOUR world

I can’t solve the world’s problems. I can’t change the hate that gets thrown around on a daily basis. But I CAN brighten my world. I focused more on that this week. I spent time in my son’s preschool class. I collected clothes for twin baby boys that were born in Anchorage from the bush so they could go home equipped. I brought dinner to another new mom. I snuggled with my kids.

Each day I need to focus on lighting up some part of my world. And if you do the same, eventually, the world will be a better place. I truly believe that.

Fighting is Better than Hiding

Our school district recently moved over from lock down drills to ALICE training. The big difference is that the kids used to hide behind coats and be really quiet and basically wait to die. Now, they actively barricade, run, zig zag, throw things, etc. I MUCH prefer this for two main reasons:

  1. Empowerment – The demeanor of my kids explaining ALICE drills is TOTALLY different than how they used to explain lock down drills. After hiding in coats and trying not to breathe, they were so scared. Now, they have an active plan. They’re excited they get to take control. They no longer have to wait to see if they’ll be the one to die. They’ll ACT. When we have a plan for things, we don’t feel as scared about them. Instead, we’ll be prepared to jump into action because…
  2. Statistics – The chance my kids will be involved in a school shooting is still statistically very low. I absolutely think they should prepare kids for that event even if the chances are slim, but the trauma of pretending to wait to die is so much worse than giving them tools to fight back and succeed. The drills are hard no matter what. You’re telling kids that a bad guy may enter your safe space and kill you. That’s never easy. But it’s the truth. And if we have the truth AND tools, we can move past the fear of that event happening.

Some Things are More Important

Six weeks into each year, I realize I’ve set my goals too big. I take too much on. This year is no different. And this event happened at the exact same time. It really shook me out of thinking: “You’re failing at everything you set out to do” and instead got me thinking: “You’re failing those things because you’ve been focusing on what’s important.” It’s hard to remember that playing with your kids instead of writing a blog post is the right choice. When you’re constantly reading about personal finance and entrepreneurship, it’s hard to remember that spending time watching the olympics with your family instead of throwing yourself neck-deep into work is the right choice. But those are the choices I’ve been choosing.

So I’m not failing at all.


January 2018 Plan Update


February 2018 Plan Update


  1. Buckeyecub

    My family has been watching the Olympics together as well. It is amazing how much we forget that spending time with loved one is important in both quantity and quality.

    • MaggieBanks

      It’s easy to get busy trying to solve problems that we’re creating by being busy.

  2. I’m so sad that school shootings keep happening in the US and people talk about it then life move on. I wish the politicians actually wake up and do something about it. It’s not about gun control, it’s about proper education. Help those people with danger signs to prevent these terrible things from happening.

    I can only shake my head when I heard that they are now considering arming teachers in school. What’s next, arm the kids too?

    • MaggieBanks

      Not to mention that we already don’t pay our teachers enough… if a lack of love and belonging is part of the problem of school shootings, only hiring teachers that are okay shooting an intruder may cause more problems for their future students…

  3. I’ve pretty much given up on humanity. But this post gives me hope. Thank you, Maggie.

    • MaggieBanks

      There are always helpers. As Mr. Roger’s mom always told him: look for the helpers.

  4. Time is the thing you can’t get back once it passes. As a parent of a 27 and 24 year old, I can tell you that you will wonder where the time went. The crazy things happening in our society is causing a lot of anxiety among parents and kids. Even more reason to spend extra time together. You sound like a great Mom and I think if all parents felt the way you do, we would not be dealing with many of these issues in our society.

    • MaggieBanks

      You are very sweet to say that. I think all of us feel like we’re failing our kids in one way or another. But we’re certainly doing the best we can.

  5. I keep thinking of the many, many ways we fail our kids. Having to teach them that our country would rather teach them to run or hide from armed murderers is preferable to dealing with the problem at the root because people think that their right to own any kind of weapon they please is more important than life and safety for our kids … well, I don’t even know what to say to that anymore.

  6. kwoz

    That is such a distressing idea. I am so sorry you and your kids have to go through that. Thing is although statistically in a large country like the states the chance of it happening in your neighbourhood is low. But the states still has a mass shooting every day (5+ deaths). Australia has had no mass shootings since 1994 when the government banned semi and automatic weapons and did a massive gun buyback. It astounds the rest of the world that those in the states cannot see the link with massive gun ownership, assault weapons and the risk of death by gunshot. Even the CDC agrees. Rates of crime are no greater in the states than many other countries its just that people don’t get killed during those crimes in other countries because guns are not involved. But when nothing was done after all those poor little kids died in Sandyhook, I felt a real hopelessness for the situation. It’s like a strange mass cultural delusion that guns are awesome and even more guns will be better still. I just can’t fathom why people can’t see it. People seem too scared to say anything for risk of seeming political or offending people but it’s your lives and your children lives you’re talking about. The average American needs to get angry about this.

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