The students were worried about a situation. The situation was not uncommon to a fifth grade class, however the situation merited a good conversation. The bottom line was that it's important to get a teacher's help if there's a problem you can't solve on your own, and it's best to seek help sooner or later.
We discussed some bigger issues in society, issues that people let get bigger and issues that turned into troubling situations. I noted that if people had sought help or spoken up while those issues were small, everyone would have learned and everyone would have had less troubles later on. I referenced the words from the Newtown parents, "See something, say something" and noted that those words have been successful saving people from greater trouble and helping people to do the right thing.
These are important words for teachers to consider too--our every action matters in schools. We have to be cognizant of all the small problems that students face and use those problems as stepping stones to good knowledge about how to speak up and how to do the right thing. As I also told students today, elementary school is a time to learn from your mistakes, and this learning helps you to make good decisions later on in life.
In thinking about this and thinking about our team's explicit efforts to help students uderstand and practice the skills of good teamwork, I will be looking out for the small infractions, errors, and needs so that we can use those events individually and as a group to grow students' skills and abilitites, skills and abilities that will give them capacity for good learning and living as they mature.