Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lessons From Littleton

 I hate that there appears to be a growing proportion of people that think it's ok to commit suicide and mass murder when life doesn't work out the way you want it to. 

I really hate the second incident that happened in Littleton yesterday, and the way it further labels my little suburb.

I hate even more, that in the focus Littleton will undergo as the potential capital of Crazytown  (and I'm not saying it isn't...I'm just saying we're not all murdering wackos),  people will be tempted to completely disregard the fact that this insane and evil trend really IS spreading across our nation, and your community is no more immune than mine.
 
So although I hope in my heart every day that this will never happen again, I'm pretty sure it will continue.  And as scary as it is, I've learned that there are things you can do to prepare, and to be able to be calm when it seems the world is ending around you.

Here's what I know.

You have very little control over what happens to your family once they leave your home.    The only thing you control is how you have taught your children to protect themselves physically and spiritually.

Physically - No one wants to think about this, but any kid in elementary school is old enough that they may have to face this situation.  I really think we do a disservice to our children if we don't empower them with information and the ability to make decisions.  Do you really want your child to be the one who is shocked, and standing rooted to the floor, not knowing what to do?  Tell your child to follow the directions of the adult who is protecting them.   If there's no adult, they need to choose RUN or HIDE - and if they can't decide, the answer is RUN.  ( most crazyshooters are terrible marksmen)

Spiritually - Because of where I live, I know lots of stories about people who survive school shootings.  Those stories aren't mine to tell here, but I will say that there's an underlying theme:

Kids in unthinkable situations revert back to what they know their parents know.

I remember one girl who told about hiding in the school for hours, the fire alarms continuing to go off, not knowing when or even IF official help was coming.  What she did know for sure was that her family was praying for her right that minute, and they would not stop until they saw her again. Knowing that her parents KNEW that God would help her was what helped her own faith and got her through that horrific day.

Ever since that day, I've had a different view of the mothers of Helaman's Army, who's sons never doubted what their mothers knew. (Alma 56:48)  I hope my children would know without a doubt that my first move would be to pray and not stop until I see them again.  I hope they know it.  I do everything I can to live it every day. 

As much as we prepare ourselves and our children, the truth is that people don't always survive the terrible choices made by others.  When these things happen and I search for a sense of calm, I remember that there have always been people in the world who chose evil - many of them doing much worse that what has been happening in our community and others.  --And yet somehow, the good people of the world make it through with their faith intact.  King Noah, Judas, Amalickiah, and many others all chose an evil path, yet where would we be without the testimonies that came as a result of those men's actions?   "all things shall work together for your good"  Not just good things, but all things.

In then end, our job is to prepare as much as we can, and then trust in the Lord that things really will work out for our good.  He loves us.  He'll help us.  It will all work out.

25 comments:

Janell said...

Beautiful, Randy. Thank you.

Rebecca said...

I've been thinking the same thing. It seems like every week this type of thing is happening. It's the worst trend. It even happened here in Salt Lake City a couple years ago. I was so so so sad to see it happen again in Littleton. Not fair at all. I'm so sorry.

This post is really touching. Your comparison to Helaman's Army makes me feel I need to step it up.

mormonhermitmom said...

Amen!

jjstringham said...

I hadn't heard. I don't watch the news. I don't read the news. I hate the news. Simply because I DO NOT WANT TO THINK ABOUT THIS.

But you're right. And just like Rebecca, I feel a need to step it up.

Beverly @ The Buzz said...

Excellent post. While I know there are people who for one reason or another find life not worth living, I've never understood why they feel they must take innocent lives along with their own. It just doesn't make any sense. Teaching our children (and ourselves) to protect ourselves is vital in today's society.

off topic: Do you remember an Elder Wheeler from about 10 years ago?

Vern said...

The other day I was thinking about Noah and how he was the ONLY ONE willing to be righteous during his time. And that no matter how many people are choosing poorly around you, we can still survive the storm.

Also, that I should brush up on my ark building skills.

Kristina P. said...

I teach an anger management class to teenagers, and I show them parts of Bowling for Columbine. We then talk about what to do if they think they have a friend who might do something like that or how to handle a situation and how to ask for help.

It's scary. I've worked with kids that I am just waiting for them to snap and be a school shooter.

Yvonne said...

Such a beautiful post, randi. Thank you so much.

You are so right about our need to prepare our children and to ensure that they do know that we are on our knees every morning and night for them. So key when we are reading the scriptures to notice those key words like "all" things and not just gloss over the word "all".

Heather said...

I hadn't even heard about this, very sad.

You are right, we can only teach our kids, have faith, and trust in God. Everyday is a battle in some way or another.

Tay said...

It's just like saying that these things only happen in the US because we're allowed to legally own guns. It happens in Europe, too. Kids are crazy in general, and they don't have to live in CO to go extra crazy. :)

RhondaLue said...

You're the second person to mention something about this. I don't have TV anymore so I don't know anything that is going on. So sad. :( Great post.

Melissa said...

I hadn't heard either... my email is AOL and their news page has really informative articles about celebrities and such. Yeah.
I guess I hadn't really ever thought about talking to my kids about what to do if someone is shooting at their school. I haven't wanted to think that it could happen where we are... but of course it can. It can happen anywhere.
It's overwhelming at times to think of all the things we need to teach our kids... drugs, drinking, smoking, strangers, abuse, bullying... but it all does come back to the basics. We can't prepare them for EVERYTHING that might come their way. It's simply impossible. But we can get them prepared to FACE what comes.
Thank you for this great post and a good reminder!

Gramzer said...

Even for this there is a plan. And all things will work together for our good. Reading your post brought that day slamming back. I know that many testimonies were solidified and strengthened that April day. Thank you for that reminder.

rocslinger said...

It's a good reminder you have given about the protection that God gives and that prayer is the best solution.

In Isreal the school age children go through training to prepare for the possobility of terrorist attacks at their schools. they are trained to take proactive approaches ie..... blocking the doors or two people standing on either side of the door to grab the gunman as he enters the room. Also their are teachers who do carry guns. Since this training was implemented their has been no school attacks.

Linda said...

I heard about that. So sorry. Good things nothing out of the ordinary ever happens in Las Vegas....

Jen said...

Thank you for a beautiful post.

goddessdivine said...

As if you guys needed to have this kind of spotlight again. I saw the teacher that took the psychopath down. That man (the teacher) should get a raise! It just goes to show that good will always triumph over evil.

Heidi Ashworth said...

I think I have told you before that we lived in Littleton when Columbine happened. Just dreadful. When I saw those photos of kids running through the snow away from their school--devastating. It all came flooding back. There was not a place that felt more immune to that kind of thing than Littleton did back then. I had only lived there less than a year but I felt so aware of the innocence lost. I'm so sorry something like this has happened again. Hugs!

East of Eden said...

I really appreciate this post. Our community had a terrible forrest fire 10 years ago and over 400 families lost their homes. Several of those families are in our ward, and on sister in particular has really great perspective on this. She echos what you've said here today, be spiritually prepared, and prepare your children spiritually for the bumps and trials of life.

I know it's our desire as parents to spare our children from every bad thing, but you can't do that. Like you said, eventually they have to leave the house. But if they have the right tools, they will survive.

Thanks so much for sharing your insight, I really apprecaite it. :)

beckers said...

Powerful post, Randi. Very well written. Makes me wonder if we need to have a little message in FHE about what to do....I don't think we've ever really talked about it.

Kudos to that teacher. It fills me up to think about what he did, risking his life for someone else's kids. Teachers get paid so little, and are depended on for so many things, and then he went so far and above even that. Amazing.

I'm so glad the kids were okay!

Dave said...

/shudder

Annette Lyon said...

Thanks for this. I read "Columbine" last year and saw the entire episode in a new light. And now, thanks to you, I see the Stripling Warriors in a new light--and now I want to redouble my efforts in making sure my kids know that I'd be there praying for them so they could do what they need to do.

Jennifer said...

You have a gift and talent for expression. Thank you for your post. It inspired me to think, and act.

aubrey said...

what a beautiful post. thank you for your words of encouragement and advice. it is so important that we arm our children with the knowledge and tools necessary to guide them through this life and any and all challenges they may face. thank you!

Stephanette said...

Really? When I think of Littleton, I think of the temple. Always have - even after 1999. Probably always will.