By Leigh Dill
Tuesday was a hard day. Monday was one of shock, but today the tragedy at The Covenant Presbyterian Day School sunk in. School shootings seem all too prevalent these days and I am starting to get numb to them, thinking this can never happen to my community. I usually change the channel when they come on the news, mainly because I don’t have time to “go there” with grief for that community or because I don’t want my kids to be scarred and ask, “hard questions.”
But Tuesday was different. Maybe because I grew up in Nashville and recognize the background of where all the news anchors are standing and know people who were lucky to have their children come home last night. Or maybe because the picture of the little girl that keeps on being shown and lost her life entirely too early and unfairly, looks too similar to my 4-year-old little girl. Or maybe it’s because I have a son that just turned 10 and keep thinking how that could have been him.
Either way, Tuesday was harder than others. All I could do was think about it.
Mental health and gun control seem to be the topic of conversation on social media, as well as posed questions of “what can we do to make this end?” I heard a couple friends called our senators today, only to leave a voicemail or get the dreaded “this mailbox is full” message.
Recently, I was able to chat candidly with Mary O’Conner of Vori Health before Sally interviewed her for our podcast. We started talking about sense of community and how the majority of conversations about community and making them better is regarding neighborhoods, but - really, the community conversation we should be having is around work and having your “needs” met there. That is, where we spend the most time after all.
I learned about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in a school that didn’t have a locked door, just down the street from Covenant, and it is still relevant today. Do you know what the number two need layer is after the base level of water, food and air is met? Safety and Security. What is comprised of that? Employment, health, resources, and personal security.
So much of that can be met in the workplace.
What can one attain only after meeting the safety and security need? Love and belonging. Not only until someone feels safe and secure can they actually embrace the need of love and belonging – which includes family, friendship and a sense of connection. Maybe if those needs are met, we might not see so many horrific news stories.
Jen Gamboa of Sustainable Health Index remarks how they work with employers to make sure that employee policies are actually relevant to their group. After surveying one population, they uncovered the highest stress driver (93%) from the group was serious illness/death of close friend or relative, so they recommended an additional day off for family and medical leave. This has not only helped company moral but also recruitment and retention.
So I urge those that want to do something to look to those that are business owners and see what they are doing to meet the needs of their employees. What type of community culture are they building? I think about how distracted I was today and wonder how many other employees, every day, are going through so many more difficult things that are distracting them from doing their work to the fullest.
Let’s start by asking the hard questions and looking out for one another first.
We built The Granite List to help benefits leaders find the best resources to address mental health, stigmas, and well-being for their plan members. To learn more visit www.thegranitelist.com.