I wish I had the knowledge to show the world how to stop our own from killing our own.
I wish I had the words, to comfort the families, the friends, the communities of murdered children.
I wish I had the influence to change the way we teach our kids, love our kids, and lead our kids.
I have none of these things in abundance, not enough to make a difference nationally or globally. Not many of us do, but we can make a difference in our own homes, in our own neighborhoods.
It can be hard; we get so busy and have so many things on our minds. It can be easy to think our kids’ issues will work themselves out. But, clearly, sometimes they don’t. A happy toddler can turn into a worried seven year old, who turns into a confused eleven year old, who turn into an angry teenager, who turns into a dangerous adult. Dark thoughts usually turn into dark actions at some point.
I will tell you, though, it is hard for you to show your kids the right path if you don’t know what the right path is. We parents need to figure it out or we will lead our kids the wrong way.
Some parents, especially single parents aren’t equipped to deal with their own troubled children. Some of them could use some help. That is where we are supposed to come in. We can know the neighbor kid needs love and guidance if we know the neighbor kid, if we talk to him or her, if we smile and say good morning when the kid is heading out for school. Sometimes, all it takes for a confused and lonely kid to find the right path is to see that someone cares. How many of us can name all the families on our own street? I can’t.
I don’t blame myself or any of you for school shootings or any other crimes that others commit. People are responsible for what they do. I am saying that we can make a difference, and I truly believe that many of you are. Some of us never get out of our chairs though. We decry the injustice of our world but never make a difference in the lives of kids who grow up to commit these injustices.
Believe me, I am speaking to myself more than you. Kids that I don’t know walk by my yard all the time, and I hardly notice. If one of them is troubled–I wouldn’t know because I don’t look up from my rake half the time. These days, I am afraid kids will get the wrong idea if I am too nice. We don’t want to be known as that creepy guy who talks to all the kids, but the alternative is being that grumpy guy who doesn’t. Which is better? Which do we think God wants us to be?
Now, more than ever, kids need to see loving, kind, and joyful people doing loving kind and joyful things, for them, even if it’s just a smile or a few kind words. You never know, it could turn into a friendship that helps a confused kid see life as a gift, all life. Then he may want to know the Giver. That kid may help other kids…
How do we start? First of all–eye contact, and a smile. That’s my plan. It is a seed that will grow if watered. A.J.