Photo by: Bell on Heels

A Mother's Insight Into National School Walkout Day

Photo by: Bell on Heels

I felt drawn to write today. I have never been one to force a post. Which is probably why I am not a disciplined writer. Or getting paid. Instead of making time each day, I rather wait for a feeling. I can’t explain how those feelings work exactly.

Thank goodness this blog does not pay the bills though. My children would starve.

I don’t know about how good of a writer I am, but I have learned that one of my talents is seeing the good in life and people. I can dig through painful tragedies to find the tiny, dusty grain of hope. I believe in the human spirit. We need people who can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or those who at least believe that there is a light.

This blog is a way to lighten my spirit and hopefully the spirit of others. I haven’t used it as a platform to discuss my views on important topics. There are many people who are entirely more educated, informed and thoughtful than I am. Sometimes I worry though that by not doing so myself, I have not been a part of the solution.

I am raising four children with my husband. As parents, it is our job to help shape them into the best people that we possibly can. I have often wondered what qualifies any of us to be in charge of such a huge undertaking. Being responsible for a future generation of mankind. Yet here we are.

No two people are alike. We all have different passions, opinions and visions. Having four children, I know that they are each going to be unique individuals one day. Heck, they are already some of the coolest kids that I know. Are they all going to agree with me on everything? Or each other for that matter? Absolutely not. And what fun would that be anyway?

I have never aspired to raise younger versions of myself. Instead, I relish in getting a front row view to the show of a lifetime. I am watching my children figure out who they are. It is one of the most electric things about parenting. The possibilities are endless. I want way bigger and better for them.

Today, in light of the devastating school shooting in Parkland, Florida, students across the country organized a National School Walkout Day that was designed to be a peaceful protest and a demand for gun law changes. It was also meant to remember the 17 people who lost their lives in the tragedy. For 17 minutes, they stood in silent solidarity.

My oldest children are only in middle school. I wasn’t sure that they were mature enough to fully grasp what the walkout symbolized. They had watched the news coverage just as I had. Long gone are the days of being able to shelter them from the world. At school they now participate in not only active shooter drills, but also in is-it-actually-a-fire-drill-OR-is-it-an-active-shooter-who-pulled-the-fire-alarm drills.

Yes, our children are now being trained to rush BACK INTO their classrooms after a fire alarm has sounded, if given those instructions. Horrifying times.

I certainly didn’t feel the right to tell my children how they should feel about the walkout and their world today. I never want to put my baggage onto their young, freshly developing perspectives. I am honest with my kids. If they ask me something, I will tell them my take. But I would never say this is absolutely how you should feel and what you should do. To be honest, If I was their age, I don’t know what I would do.

I am grateful to live in the greatest country in the land. I still believe that with all my heart. I am thankful to raise my children where they are free. Are there dangers that come with our free society? Unfortunately yes, and our kids are learning that fact way too young.

I am grateful to send my children to a school district that supported their right to a peaceful protest, if they felt compelled and moved to participate. That is what this country was built on, after all. The schools did have walkout rules in place to keep the kids safe. (To the greatest of their abilities, anyway.)

Did my children choose to participate? It is their story to tell. I will say that both communicated with me afterwards and only one chose to walk out. Were their motives pure? Did they fully understand their participation? Was it done to avoid sitting in a boring foreign language class? Or rather out of compassion for the kids/teachers who are no longer with us, simply because they went to school that fateful day?

I can’t say for sure. When both left home this morning, they were unsure of how they would feel when the moment came. I am extremely proud of both of my middle school kids. After mindful thought, they both did what they felt was right. They are discovering that they have a voice. And it can be powerful. And no one can tell them what to do with it.

As their mother, all that I want in my life is for my children to be safe and for them to use their voice for good.

And if there is anything that I hope that they take away from me, it would be to see the good. There is always good to be found.

Mamapedia is committed to sharing a variety of perspectives and voices. Views expressed in this article are the writer’s own, and do not necessarily represent the views of Mamapedia.

Tonja Bell is a stressed wife and mother of 4. She loves sparkly things and vibrant people. She must laugh often. #blogger #runner #gangsta #orderly #hilarious

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