BrainWise Graduate 19 Years Later

Posted On: April 24, 2018

April, 1999 – Columbine High School: 13 Murders and 21 Injuries

No one could have predicted that the unthinkable violence that happened at Columbine High School would be repeated with increasing frequency over the last 19 years. Today, school lock-downs are paired with fire drill practices, “be safe” is used interchangeably with “see you later,” and survivors participate in nationwide support groups.

In May, 1999, one month after Columbine and six miles away at Sheridan High School, teens who had completed BrainWise were filmed talking about how they used the 10 Wise Ways. Tiffany Tate was a 17-year-old senior, and she specifically mentioned that students need to learn BrainWise to help them “stay away from problems so we don’t have incidents like the Columbine tragedy going on everywhere.” The reason, she explained, is “because when you learn to think well, people can get along with each other, no matter what. And thinking prevents a lot of violence.”

BrainWise Graduate 19 Years Later Tiffany Tate
Tiffany Tate, Colorado High School Senior, 1999

Tiffany also talked about how BrainWise helps children and adults. “I learned that not only do you need to teach the 10 Wise Ways to little kids, but that adults need to learn the skills, too.” She said that people mistakenly think the program’s simple language only targets children and youth. “People may think that the 10 Wise Ways and the Emotions Elevator are things that go on with young kids or teenagers. “This isn’t true, she said, “Problems happen every day to everybody. No matter what decision you have to make, BrainWise will help you.”

April, 2018 – 19 years later: When will the next mass shooting happen? Lisa Sabey is a filmmaker who is including BrainWise in a documentary she is making on resources for parents. One of her partners is Sue Klebold, the mother of one of the two Columbine shooters. Sue is an advocate for helping parents recognize warning signs, and she has written a book, A Mother’s Reckoning.

Lisa filmed interviews with BrainWise teachers, parents, and students talking about how they use the 10 Wise Ways. Amazingly, we were able to re-connect with Tiffany. Today she is a full-time a 36-year-old college graduate and website development and digital marketing analyst who is mother to a four-year-old daughter and infant son. When contacted, she said would be “happy and honored to help BrainWise in any way.”

After watching a digitized version of the 1999 video, Tiffany said, “I feel that everything still applies. The 10 Wise Ways are so important to me as a parent and new mother. They give such a strong foundation on how to teach us to lead our kids.”

PGB: Your comment on teaching parents is important. Can you say more on this?
TT: Parenting doesn’t come with a handbook. Parents and kids are busy – today’s children barely look up from their devices – and we may not realize that not only do parents need thinking skills, but we need to teach them to our kids. BrainWise gives parents a language and tools that help them and their children to stop and think before they react. This is important, because if parents don’t teach them, their children may never learn.

As I stated 19 years ago, and still believe it is true: Everyone needs to learn the 10 Wise Ways. BrainWise benefits everyone, and thinking prevents violence.

PGB: What do you think about today’s violence and the role of parents?
TT: I think it is wonderful that they teach BrainWise in schools, but it isn’t the sole responsibility of the school. It starts at home with parents. As parents we need to empower our children by letting them know they can come to us for anything. We need to teach them about their emotions and how to handle them. We need to be involved in their lives.

I feel very sorry for the violence in our school age youth. Whether it be suicide, bullying, or gun violence, it is important that our children know where and how to reach out to an adult in any situation, including us. Teaching our children BrainWise will not eliminate violence, but it is a great start.

I believe it is my duty as a parent to instill the 10 Wise Ways in my children’s minds and guide them. It must begin with parents, and we must use them so we don’t forget them and can teach them to our children.

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