I shouldn't have to explain a mass shooting to my 4-year-old daughter.

Dealing with potty training, lack of sleep, and toddler tantrums are pretty much routine line items on my fatherhood resume.


This is what the back seat of my car often looks like. GIF from Allstate.

You know what's becoming a routine line item for Americans? Dealing with the incessant amount of gun violence in our communities.

For those of you keeping score at home, we've endured 355 mass shootings (defined as four or more victims, including the shooter) in the United States in under 340 days of this calendar year. That's more than one mass shooting a day.

Take a moment to think about how crazy that is. When you're finished, chances are you'll be extremely angry.

I was angry after the shooting in San Bernardino, California, too. Aside from the obvious reasons, I live in Los Angeles, so this hits close to home.

The scene during the San Bernardino shooting. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images News.

As much as I despise gun violence and feel horrible for the victims, I never actually thought it would touch the lives of me or my loved ones. Until it did.

Hours after the news broke about the San Bernardino shooting, I was notified by the principal of my daughter's preschool that there was a gun threat via phone directed at a nearby elementary school.

Because of the proximity and recent gun-related events, my daughter and her preschool classmates were put on lockdown as the police department investigated the incident. Not long afterward, the "all clear" was given and everything went back to normal.

Well, the "new normal," anyway.

Mass shootings in America in 2015. Photo vis PBS NewsHour, used with permission.

At that moment, I knew that no one in America was immune to this. Looking at this map of the mass shootings in America this year makes that painfully clear.

What do we tell our kids when something like this happens?

Do we tell them nothing? Do we avoid movie theaters and playgrounds? Do we pull our children out of class and homeschool them instead? Do we sit around and pray for the problem to be solved?

The answers are complicated and nuanced, but the one thing we should all agree on is doing whatever we can to keep our kids safe from harm. And that's exactly what I pledged to my children. I didn't provide any explanation of the terrorist attacks (and that's exactly what they are). My message is that no matter what bad stuff is out there, I'm going to do everything in my power to ensure their safety.

Gun control is a great place to begin. As a society, we need to face facts and deal with some real talk.

We need to ask why it's way too easy to buy guns. We need to ask if it's necessary to own military-grade weaponry. We need to ask gun supporters what they're truly afraid of by implementing common-sense gun regulations.

No parent should experience the horror of learning that their kid's school is on lockdown due to a gun threat.

And most importantly, no family should have to bury a child due to gun violence. Parenting is hard enough without constantly worrying that somebody with bad intentions may open fire on our kids after we drop them off at school.

A Colorado family mourns after the deadly movie theater shootings in 2012. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News.

The time it took from the moment I received the notification of the lockdown at my daughter's school to actually hugging her seemed like an eternity. Afterward, my main thought was, "I don't want this to happen ever again."

The reality is this can happen to any of us unless America steps up and makes some big changes.

Let's make it happen.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture