At times I really have to wonder what is happening to our kids…in just the past few days our nation has been stunned by the following tragedies:
- Massachusetts – 24 year old teacher killed by a 14-year-old student
- Nevada – middle school student kills teacher, self and wounds two other students
- California – 13-year-old holding up toy gun, is shot and killed by police for apparently not dropping it
- Washington – 11-year-old charged with attempted murder bringing handgun, 400 rounds of ammunition and a handful of knives to school
- Florida – 12-year-old jumps to her death at an abandoned cement plant due to bullying
- Illinois – 15-year-old boy shoots himself in chest because of bullying
You know what’s standing out in my mind about these cases? How incredibly young these perpetrators and victims are, which leaves me questioning:
- Were there signs missed by parents, family, friends, other students and teachers?
- Did the child have a mental illness?
- Were the parents not available (physically and emotionally)?
- Was it because of playing violent video games?
- Was the child not properly medicated or overmedicated?
- Did the child come from a broken home?
- Had there been some type of sexual, emotional or physical abuse?
There are many speculations being made. But I don’t believe that in any one of these cases, the “answers” fit into a neat little box. We live in a much different world today than when I was a child/teenager. It’s getting scary. I mean, I know we’re not supposed to live in fear but when you’re trying so desperately to raise your children right, it’s hard to not be concerned about their safety.
I’ve mentioned before that my oldest son’s first year of high school was rocked when his good friend was stabbed from behind—in the hallway of their school. I can’t tell you how terrifying that experience was, so it’s hard to imagine how people are coping with these tragic situations.
At times I’d like to pull my children out of school, put them in a bubble and tuck them safely away. But that’s not reasonable. So the only thing I can do—which makes it sound like it’s not very powerful—is pray. Yet prayer is actually where the power really lies. Because I cannot imagine trying to bring my children up in this world without having someone greater than me to trust in.
In fact, going back to my son’s freshman year of high school. Here’s how powerful prayer is—protection is something I always pray over my children. That morning I was running late getting him to school. He should have been sitting at the same table as his friend who was stabbed and the boy who committed the act. But five minutes made all the difference.
Sure, I don’t know if my son would have also become a victim. But I do know this—prayer works. Yet at the same time I recognize that even parents who have prayed have lost their children. Just a week and a half ago, I attended the funeral of a 21-year-old who lost his battle to cancer. I don’t have it all figured out. And I’m guessing that I’m not supposed to.
All I do know for certain is that my God loves my children even more than I do. And He doesn’t want me to live in fear. If anything, these tragedies are calling me to a deeper level of prayer. And at the same time, a deeper level of trust.
© 2013, Stephanie Romero