Yesterday, she excitedly tells me that her school practiced three drills that day: tornado, fire, and lockdown. It’s amazing how our minds are wired because instantly my mind flashed back to Sandy Hook. As she was sharing the details of each drill, I slightly tuned her out in the midst of my overwhelming thoughts.
Back when the Sandy Hook incident happened, Z was at home with me at the time, happily playing on the living room floor. The news broke out on that cold Friday day in December 2012, and my heart sank. I naturally put myself in the shoes of those parents and grieved HARD.
I grieved for the families.
I grieved for the school.
I grieved for the only child survivor found in the midst of slain classmates and teacher.
I grieved for the parent who never got the chance to decorate for the holidays once his child came back from school.
I grieved for Newtown.
I grieved for the status of mental health awareness/advocacy in our nation.
You see, many days, we rest in the security of our homes, workplaces, schools, and etc without much thought of anything tragic happening to ourselves, children, and loved ones. Neither did those parents on December 14th.
Even with a practice lockdown drill conducted weeks prior to that horrific event in Sandy Hook Elementary, many lives were still lost. Now I am not diminishing the fact that these drills are futile don’t save lives because the heroic efforts of many teachers, staff, and students on that December morning surely saved many precious souls. I am just saying that regardless of how many times we practice, these drills are not 100% foolproof and that a greater picture must be addressed.
Once we got to the car, I told her the basic gist of the Sandy Hook incident. I told her many little children and other adults lost their lives because of the very poor decisions of an individual who was mentally ill. I told her that as a parent, I cannot imagine dropping her off to school and never seeing her again. But to reel her back in, I expressed my gratefulness to God for another opportunity to hug and kiss her. She thought about what I said for a few moments and said, “Yeah, mom, that’s sad. I wouldn’t want that to happen to you either. I love you, too.” and touched my cheek.
I did not tell her about Sandy Hook to instill fear or apprehension, but to give her a sense of awareness that life is precious and tomorrow is never guaranteed to any of us. I wanted to attempt to plant the seed that God did not give us life to be selfish and to withhold ourselves from being who He has called us to be. He gave us all a purpose, however short and long that may be, and whenever our purpose has been fulfilled, God is free to call us away from this side of life. Although those kids were young and we may never understand fully the answer to “why”, they served their purpose and God called them on home. Life happens like that sometimes, but God is still in control. Always.
As I drove home, I pondered how well she received my message or whether it was too over her 5 year old head. Nevertheless, I did allow her to see my vulnerability as a parent. It is in our vulnerabilities when we can better connect with others, even our children. I never want to give Z the impression that adults are so strong that we cannot relate to the issues they go through as children. We cry, get butterflies, feel annoyed by so many rules, and struggle with changes. But regardless of what situation we are in, God has not given us spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7). He’s all the strength we need to get through any circumstances.
Z’s response: “Parents cry???”
My response: “Yes we do, yes I do.”
|Practicing the fire drill at home. Z’s is announcing the area is clear.|