Mass killings in Paris, Colorado Springs, and, a few hours ago, in San Bernardino bring tears to my eyes.
My heart grieves for victims’ loved ones and for the wounded, especially those in critical condition.
I grieve for our cities and schools and neighborhoods and nation.
We’ve witnessed too many bloodbaths. According to the Washington Post, the mass shooting in San Bernardino was only one of two yesterday in the U.S., and the 355th of 2015. And it was “at least the third mass shooting since the rampage in Colorado Springs last Friday.”
Way too many of us are staggering beneath the weight of those grave events in our nation and world.
Such disasters leave us shattered even if they don’t happen in our own neighborhoods. They leave adults—and children—shaken. Dazed. Scared.
I grieve for our young people.
What are mass murders doing to our children and grandchildren?
We can’t keep them from hearing news reports. They’ll hear one way or another, and most schools nowadays conduct regular drills to prepare for violent intruders—and even the drills conjure up terrifying what-ifs. Little kids (and even big kids), traumatized with worry, ask:
“Will something like that happen in my neighborhood?”
“If my mommy and daddy are killed, who will take care of me?”
“What if something like that happens at my school? Will I die?”
Those are crushing loads for young people to bear.
How can you help young ones in your family?
Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in the world.” (Fred Rogers)
Think of those helpers, those special people: law enforcement and emergency personnel, community leaders, clergy, medical professionals, good Samaritans, teachers, and so many more.
How can you comfort your young ones like Mr. Rogers’ mother comforted him? What stories can you tell your kids and grandkids and great-grands that will calm, encourage, and help them trust God?
Write vignettes for your memoir, stories that show how you or others dealt with frightful experiences, threats, war, or violence.
Write stories about the kind of helpers Fred Rogers’ mother spoke of.
Write stories that will teach young people to pray and to watch for God’s answers.
Write stories of God’s help and His healing afterward. Include Bible verses and God’s promises.
Pray for God’s help
in writing your stories—
stories that will give readers
and strong faith.
Perhaps one day
they’ll say words similar to
Mr. Rogers’ words,
“To this day I remember
and I am always comforted….”