Friday, December 14, 2012

The Shootings in Conn.

I cried....a lot.  My face is swollen, the thoughts that have run through my head are countless.  I was forced into telling my children what happened today (despite my desire to even bring this their attention).  One of our teachers said before they left school "if your parents tell you about what happened today somewhere else in the country, please know that I will always protect you."  He tells me this in front of his brothers and asked me what she was talking about.  I appreciate her allowing me (and the rest of her parents) to choose exactly how the story comes across to them.  We had a scare happen almost a year ago that directly affected our school and my children's trust of the school and I was not allowed the same respect.  So, I decided to be real with my kids.  They are ages 7-10 (my 3 year old daughter was not included and wouldn't even know what to do with this information). I gave them the important adult son of a teacher came into a building that housed K-4th grade students, he shot the principal and nurse, his mother and 20 students...most of whom were in her class.  I told them about the few accounts from surviving children that had surfaced and I told them where it in the country it took place.

I started my speech with questions about what they are suppose to do at school if a "bad guy" were to enter their building and attempt to hurt them or the fellow classmates.  All three of them had the proper response.  I don't know if I was glad or sad that my children and their school have regular lock down drills...because my children know exactly what they should do.  The one thing I didn't like about their responses was that they have been told that if they are in the bathroom or some other part of the building, they are to run to the office.  My issue with that is that the office is at the front of the building...and the closest to the entrance...and in the Conn. school where several adults were killed.  I have no desire for my children to run directly the first place gun shots will be placed.  They asked good questions, "like, are our doors bullet proof?" and "what if they get through the door?"

I explained to my kids who the shooter was, his relation to a teacher and who he shot.  They of course asked me why, and I told them I did not have that answer.  I explained to them that is not something that will happen every day and it not something to expect at their school.  I did remind them that scary things CAN happen to us, at our school, at our church, and at our home.  They related the possibility of this happening at their school to the likelihood of what happened to their Uncle's friend happening to him; which I found to be awesome.  I feel like they understand that they are safe.  I asked them if they trusted their teachers to keep them safe if something like this was to happen at their school and they replied with a quick and loud "yes". 

One of my boys said, "if the teachers had a gun, they could of shot the bad guy right away and no kids would have died." I gotta say, this statement tells me that I have been doing my job right!  I then asked them if they would be scared to be at school if their teachers or their principal or even if their janitor were to carry a gun where it could be seen.  All of them in unison said, "no." I asked them why and they replied that they would know that the teachers and other staff members that might have a gun on them would have it to keep them safe and they know these adults would never use them unless they felt the children were in danger of being killed.  This tells me that my education for them about guns thus far in their lives has been on the right path.  My kids judge the intention of the gun holder, not the gun.  My boys look forward to the day they get to learn how to shoot a gun.  They look forward to hunting and at times talk of joining the military or police forces.  They want to learn to protect what is theirs, protect people they do not know, protect innocent people and otherwise contribute to this world in a massive way.

My children did cry...I believe they cried for the children that had died today, probably the principal that died as well.  My children hold their principal close their hearts, he a resource of love, care, and protection that they take very seriously.  I know my oldest son is thinking about the families of deceased children, he is thinking about the siblings, the parents, the friends, and everyone who might have known the children.  Not quite two months we lost a very dear friend of ours.  He was 19 years old, almost 20 and was someone my children knew growing up.  He is the best friend of my youngest brother who is barely 20 himself.  My kids attending his funeral, witnessed the sadness of his sisters and mother, the sadness that sweep our town as we laid this beloved boy to rest.  To me, he was still a kid....he was someone's child...and my children felt it, they were so sad about realizing they would never see this boy alive again.  He would never be with their uncle again, never come to another birthday party or game.  I know my oldest son was thinking about all those people that hurt when a child dies...regardless of their age.  But to hear that 20 children their ages had been killed by an's a lot to take in and there is a lot to consider and think about.

There have been so many sad things happen makes it hard to keep your children oblivious to the real world.  When these sad things start to happen in places that are similar to where they spend almost half their makes it EVEN HARDER!  There is no right way to handle this topic with your children...but there are sure fire ways to handle it wrong.  It is not a conversation you ever expect to have with your seven, eight, or ten year old.  You can only pray that they never have to deal with it in their lives.  I also pray, that if God decides they need to, that my children can stand up to the test and walk away alive.

I can not image the thoughts and feelings of the parents, surviving students, staff that witnessed and could do nothing to prevent these deaths, and the police/fire/emt's that had to respond to the prayers will be with each and every single person who must deal with this tonight...oh my goodness....the families that must prepare to bury their lost children and deal with the reality of what comes in 11 short days...the unwrapped gifts that will never be opened...the looks of delight of Santa's loot that will never be seen...and the future that is now gone!  I do not know personally what it is like to bury a child of my own....but lately I have watched too many mothers close to me do it....and there is nothing easy, okay, or forgiving about it!

I sign off with a broken heart tonight.....a cuddle night is ahead of me as my children, fiance and I bake cookies and watch some Christmas movies....a luxury that has been robbed from too many parents tonight...I do it tonight in honor of do what they can not and appreciate my luck that I live here....

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