It has to stop.
I don't know how, but the violence in our nation's schools has become so common that we are in danger of becoming desensitized. I know because; I was not surprised.
I was shocked, but it was the feeling that was missing until I read that someone I knew was affected.
I did not feel the outrage until I read a post on Facebook from a childhood friend, whose mother-in-law was killed in the latest school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.
She was killed protecting a student.
How do we stop this violence in our schools? How do we reach these young people who are in such fragile states of mental health that they resort to violence with guns? How do we recognize a fragile mental state in a seemingly normal teenager? How do we protect our teachers and children?
We have to learn from each other and make some hard choices. It is a matter of life or death.
Scarlett, whose son Jesse was killed on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary, has taken her tragedy and made it her life's work to end school violence. I purchased Scarlett's book, Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother's Journey of Hope and Forgiveness, a couple of months ago, but I could not seem to open it and read it.
In my work I read more books in a month than many people do in a year, but not this one. I wanted to read it, but just could not bring myself to open it.
Then I read about Jack's mother-in-law.
My childhood friend shared on Facebook that his mother-in-law was a substitute teacher that day, and she saved a young girl by pushing her out of the way. This young girl would share her story with the Daily Mail so that we would all know who saved her that day.
Our schools are full of loving, caring women and men like her, but our schools are not well. Violence is the expression of an unwell society and it has to stop. The love is there, but the children who are resorting to violence somehow are missing it. They are disconnected from a world where compassion, love, and kindness reside. They are burdened by a world full of stress and violence. They are missing the links to find peace within themselves before they resort to hurting others. This needs to change.
As I opened Scarlett's book, I met Jesse. A brave boy who told his classmates to run before he was shot. A beautiful, happy boy pictured in a hammock with his mother and brother on Mother's Day 2010. A boy with a gentle spirit who was on a mission.
Wayne Dyer described reading this book as a felt experience. One that once you read it that you will be forever changed. Like, Dyer, I too am looking for light in the darkness that has descended into many of our American schools.
This book is different. In it Scarlett brings you along for the journey of becoming a mother and opening herself up to a spiritual journey. One based on curiosity and not fear, as she learned ways to connect with herself and the world, open to what her faith had in store for her. She was building strength for an event no mother should ever have to bare.
My children are young and so unaware of the tragic events of the past week. We do not have the news on showing the violence; we choose to have them enjoy childhood without fear for as long as possible. As Scarlett introduced me to Jesse on every page, I can't help but think how much fun our boys would have had playing together.
I want everyone to read this book, and while you are at it buy two and give a copy to your public library. We will not change anything until we start talking about the roots of violence, and this book takes you away from your outrage for a moment to get to know the light of a child that was taken in violence. It begins with love and ends with love. Scarlett invites you into her family with every memory and wound.
We must all read these words to feel again. The violence in our schools has become commonplace and we need to feel the love of a mother, her pain, and ultimately the lesson of Jesse's life. We owe it to the lives of all these children and adults who are being taken from us in violence.
I cried as I read the description of the parents being notified that their children were never coming home again, but I also have faith that the Jesse's of our world want us to learn from this and heal for every child. Jesse was raised on love. It was part of his nutrition. If every child in American understood who they were like this brave, insightful six-year-old, we could end this violence.
We cannot teach children about their inner lives without examining our own and asking uncomfortable questions.
Begin today. Hug them a little longer, allow them to play, to face the sunshine, express themselves in art, and most of all let them be who they were born to be. We need to help our children have a stronger inner understanding so that when the clouds of mental anguish strike them they will reach out for help.
Scarlett, thank you for sharing Jesse with me. I am forever changed. ~ Kathy