This morning I picked up the paper and the front page headline with two gigantic photos told of a shooting--right next door to where I would have been had I not been detained at the doctors! Have people just plain lost their senses? Whatever happened to the quiet community I grew up in? And here's where my thoughts are taking me. These criminals were once students in somebody's classroom. They started out as cute Kindergarten kids. They were playing kickball at recess in fifth grade. They were sitting in a high school cafeteria tapping their hands on the table to the tune on the jukebox. Now they're either shooting up or shooting others. So what can we do as teachers? I have a few thoughts. First of all, we can pray for our students, daily, individually. Next we can use our two most powerful weapons--our smile and our ears. We can greet students with a smile and a hearty hello. We can listen when students talk, even encourage them to talk so we can listen. Hearing what happened to SpongeBob might not sound that important to an adult, but to a kid, it is and knowing that someone will listen is even more important. Now let me get a bit controversial, but we can avoid assigning so much homework that kids miss youth meetings during their after school life. Those youth leaders might be the only person at the crossroads in that child's life. And finally, we can put students above standardized tests. What does it profit a school if it obtains higher averages but loses its students in the process? I'm not saying that teachers or schools are to blame for the current crisis of crime. Teachers get blamed enough for stuff. But I do think we might be able to make a difference, even if we only play a small part. If students were made of Legos, it would take many Legos to build that student, but our small part might be that one Lego that keeps the student standing.