“I’m not bullet proof”; “Am I next”, “If I die in a school shooting forget burial – just drop my body off on the steps of congress”, “will I live to cast my ballot?”, #neveragain. The signs held by young people carried a powerful message on Mar. 24th, 2018 as millions gathered to call for change. Young people shouldn’t have to worry about violence. They should be able to focus on enjoying their lives, living to the fullest, having their Ferris Bueller day off.
Instead, we have seen survivors of yet another horrific school shooting stand front and centre of a long debate. The teenage leaders of this evolving movement gathered a following through social media, experienced the attacks of those who disagree with their position, and still have found spaces where their voices are heard.
I saw the photo on the cover of Time magazine. In the image the only words were the magazine title and “ENOUGH” but I instantly knew who these young people were. At once my heart is breaking and hopeful. Perhaps this will be the moment where change will begin to happen. Perhaps these will be the ones who finally achieve what has long been needed.
My teenager has been following this story with great interest. At times, I have heard concern about the welfare of these young people. I have also heard my teenager ponder what it would be like if we lived in the States: would my teen have been one of the one’s shot or would this outspoken kid rise up alongside individuals like Emma, David and Cameron?
As a parent, the thought is chilling. I can only imagine how traumatic it would be to get a text from your kid that there is an active shooter in their school! The feelings of helplessness, the fear that you may never see your child again, it has to be overwhelming!
The pain of parents has been heard before. In response, they have been offered ‘thoughts and prayers’. It’s not enough. Action is needed. There are many parents who realise this. In the midst of this movement parents are not silent. Rather, if you look hard enough at the photos from the march, it becomes possible to realise that the parents are there too, walking alongside their children, loving them through their support and willingness to offer our shoulders on which our children can stand up and be heard.
So much has changed in our lifetimes and continues to change. The role of family, however it is defined, remains important. Parents continue to play a vital role in helping our children navigate through the challenges and struggles. Do you agree? How do you feel about the march for our lives and activism of our teenagers? Comments are welcome! Conversation is important!
Thrive! A living manual for families, is a new ministry project for youth and families in Essex County and beyond. Together we seek to explore the joys and struggles of being family today in a safe and friendly environment through food, fellowship and programming.
Check out http://stpaulstrinity.org/?page_id=2100 for more information or visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThriveFamiliesManual/ and join the conversation.