We all recognize that the facts about mass shootings in America are undeniable. Glennon Doyle has listened to experts in many fields struggle to come up with ways to identify potential future school shooters. She has taken the issue a step further: she wants to find ways to help those lost souls.

Doyle is a best-selling author and non-profit executive who advocates for women and children in crisis.

She says we may never be able to eliminate all such tragedies but if we all spend just a little time looking for patterns of love and loneliness, then stepping in where possible, we might be able to alter the trajectory of our complicated world. Think: if you see something, say something.

There is no one or two answers to the crisis. Doyle did discover how one schoolteacher takes time each week to look out for the lonely child who is quietly reaching out for help. The teacher referenced has been using the system every Friday afternoon since Columbine.

Doyle tells the story of the parent of a son who was having trouble learning the new math being taught in schools. She contacted her son’s fifth-grade math class and asked how she could help her son. The fact was, the mother was just as confused. The teacher invited her to come in after school time and she would explain the new math to her.

As the teacher sat behind the mother at the chalkboard, she used a soothing voice to help her understand the “new way we teach long division.” It took her a solid hour to complete one problem. She realized the teacher had a special skill working with her students.

Afterward, they sat for a few minutes and talked about teaching children and what a sacred trust and responsibility it is. They agreed that subjects like math and reading are not the most important things that are learned in a classroom.

They talked about shaping little hearts to become contributors to a larger community — and they discussed their mutual dream that those communities might be made up of individuals who are kind and brave above all. Then the teacher shared her special exercise.

Every Friday afternoon, she asks her students to take out a piece of paper and write down he names of four children with whom they’d like to sit with the following week. The students know their requests may or may not be honored.

She also asks the students to nominate one student who they believe has been an exceptional classroom citizen that week. She keeps the ballots secret. She takes out those slips of paper and studies them. She looks for patterns. Who is not getting requested by anyone else? Who never gets nominated? Who had a ton of friends one week and none another week?

The goal is not to find “exceptional citizens.” The teacher is looking for lonely children. She is looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She’s identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class’s social life.

She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she’s pinning down, right away, who’s being bullied and who is doing the bullying. It’s like taking an X-ray of a classroom to see beneath the surface of things and into the hearts of students.

She hopes to identify the children who need a little help, who need adults to step in and teach them how to make friends, how to ask others to play, how to join a group, or how to share their gifts. She can recognize who the bullies are. The truth comes out on those safe, private, little sheets of paper.

This brilliant, caring teacher knows all violence begins with disconnection. Outward violence begins as inner loneliness. As she hears about school tragedies, she understands that children who aren’t being noticed may eventually resort to being noticed by any means necessary.

Doyle says she is convinced what this teacher is doing when she sits in her empty classroom studying those lists written with shaky 11-year-old hands is saving lives. Maybe not tomorrow, but maybe years down the road.

What this math teacher has learned while using this system is something she really already knew: that everything — even love, even belonging, has a pattern to it. She finds the patterns, and through those lists she breaks the codes of disconnection. Then she gets lonely kids the help they need.