This Is Not The America I Grew Up In
Our six-year-old says “I did a red door drill today. I know what to do if a bad person comes in my school.”
Our nine-year-old says “Oh let’s see if Ohio State stands when they play the anthem for our country, I think they will because they’re from Ohio.”
My stomach sinks hearing the thoughts fire through their minds and rolls off their tongues.
I’m angry today! I’m angry that I support America’s firearm stance. I’m angry, that I was relieved, to hear that my son’s school is taking a proactive stance by arming their teachers.
I’m angry that I have to decide if I like this.
I’m sickened I have to visualize my son stuffed in a corner or a bathroom, staring at the door, waiting for the door knob to turn. Having to fathom that my son’s teacher one day could be holding a pistol hoping to fire off the first shot before the “bad guy” gets to them first.
I’m bitter that I have to like this. I have to like that my son is only safe in his school if his teachers are now armed.
I don’t like political conversations, a matter of fact I hate them. I loathe even more our little citizens, the ones that should be worrying if they’re eating PB&J or lunch meat for lunch, now have to be taught that they can’t speak if the lights are off and the lockdown light is on.
I was ten when Columbine High School swung the door wide open to school shootings. I’m twenty-eight now and still remember the horror.
I thought about getting my son football tickets for his birthday but should I? Do I rob them of the right to experience a game?
You bet I do! I’ll hoard them from the fury, after today, nothing is impossible.
What do I tell them when there is yet another shooting?
I continue to explain the difference between peaceful protests, and non-peaceful to a six and a nine-year-old. I explain that over and over. I explain that it’s never ok to point a gun at another human unless your life is at stake. I explain that each person’s life is as precious as the next.
We ask ourselves where do we draw the line. In my house, we are honest with our kids. If they have questions they will be answered at an age-appropriate level.
I want to shield them from the worst and give them the best.
I want to teach them to love and not to hate.
I want them to know not everyone agrees and that’s ok.
I want to teach them to debate, not argue.
I want them to know if something doesn’t feel right, they need no excuse. The feeling is enough.
To trust their instincts, to never apologize for it.
I want them to know peace is achievable.
Mostly, I want them to know this is not the America I grew up in, but I will stand by the choices that I believe protect them.