As a parent, my heart goes out to the families and school staff of Stoneman Douglass High School. On the day we set aside as Love Day, hate manifested in the heart of a young man. As people took to social media with their heartfelt sympathies and prayers, the two most common themes I came across were what is our country going to do about gun control and what can we do as parents?
You hug your children, kiss them goodbye, and tell them to have a great day. You send your children to school with the expectation of seeing them return home.You never consider that not only will their day not be great, but tragedy will strike.
How gut wrenching it must be to learn that your child was killed while they were in a seemingly safe place. I’m sure it is equally painful when someone’s child dies for any reason. And as intelligent as I believe I am, I have to admit that I feel a bit helpless when it comes to turning my children over to others. As a parent, I do what I have always done - cover and pray over my children before they leave home. I pray fervently throughout the day for their safety and I praise God as I hold them tight when they return home safely.
Truth is, for some parents, the danger and the fear doesn’t stop when the bell rings. Some families live in neighborhoods where bullets spraying is a common occurrence. What baffles me is community that suffer from violent days aren’t anything new, but yet, where are the national call-outs to help those areas? Where are the marches to help save the lives of the people who live in those communities. Plenty of parents have had to bury their children because of senseless violence and yet, silence is the typical response - not a nationwide uprising and awareness campaign. Why? .
I dread the possible inevitable reality that we, as a country, will never get this right and the cost will be more dead children losing their lives in such violent and tragic ways. My mind wrestles with which part of this should I focus on. My heart wrestles even more with the fact that in 2018 children can’t even attend school without the fear of possible violence, a terror that wasn’t my reality when I was growing up and attending school. Someone coming to shoot up my school never crossed my mind.
In reviewing the most recent cases of school shootings,I came across an interesting story of a 7-year old named Ava, who had to experience the loss of a friend and classmate. She took the bold steps of writing a letter to the President.
As I read the letter, I realized that Ava conveyed my sentiments exactly. The bravery and articulation of such a young soul. She ended the letter with these words that I believe we all can rally around: Please keep kids safe from guns!