When it comes to the tragic shootings in the schools of America, we have confused the issue. We do not have a gun problem, we have a kid problem.
This was never made more clear to me, than from something my good friend Dale Brown sent me some time back. It was a rant posted on Facebook by Kelly Guthrie Raley, who is the 2017-2018 Florida Teacher of the Year. Kelly teaches in Lake County, Florida, and this was posted the day following the shooting that took 17 lives at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This post went viral -- 823,000 people “liked” the post and agreed with it, and more than 649,000 shared it with others. When you read the following, you will see why.
Here’s what Mrs. Raley had to say: “OK, I’ll be the bad guy and say what no one else is brave enough to say, but wants to say. I’ll take all the criticism and attacks from everyone because you know what? I’m a TEACHER. I live this life daily. And I wouldn’t do anything else! But I also know daily I could end up in an active shooter situation. Until we, as a country, are willing to get serious and talk about mental health issues, lack of available care for mental health issues, lack of discipline in the home, horrendous lack of parental support when the schools are trying to control horrible behavior at school (oh no! Not MY KID. What did you do to cause my kid to react that way?), lack of moral values, and yes, I’ll say it - violent video games that take away all sensitivity to ANY compassion for other’s lives, as well as reality TV that makes it commonplace for people to constantly scream up in each other’s faces and not value any other person but themselves, we will have a gun problem in school. Our kids don’t understand the permanency of death anymore!!!
“I grew up with guns. Everyone knows that. But you know what? My parents NEVER supported any bad behavior from me. I was terrified of doing something bad at school, as I would not have had a life until I corrected the problem and straightened my ass out. My parents invaded my life. They knew where I was ALL the time. They made me have a curfew. They made me wake them up when I got home. They made me respect their rules. They had full control of their house, and at any time could and would go through every inch of my bedroom, backpack, pockets, anything! Parents: it’s time to STEP UP!
“Be the parent that actually gives a crap! Be the annoying mom that pries and knows what your kid is doing. STOP being their friend. They have enough ‘friends’ at school. Be their parent. Being the “cool mom” does not mean a damn thing when either your kid is dead or your kid kills other people because they were allowed to have their space and privacy in YOUR HOME. I’ll say it again. My home was filled with guns growing up. For God’s sake, my daddy was an 82nd Airborne Ranger who lost half his face serving our country. But you know what? I never dreamed of shooting anyone with his guns. I didn’t bring up gun control, and I will refuse to debate it with anyone.
“This post isn’t about gun control. This is me, loving the crap out of people and wanting the best for them. This is about my school babies and knowing that God created each one for greatness and wanting each one to reach their futures. Violence was not this bad 20 years ago when I started my teaching career and hopefully this will help you understand why. Those 17 lives mattered. When are we going to take our own responsibility seriously?”
Janis and I plan to send this article to each of our children and grandchildren. Won’t you join us?
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to www.apositivemomentwithjim.com to subscribe.)