Raised with kindness

I posted this cartoon the other day on our Facebook page:

No automatic alt text available.

I posted it in the wake of another American school shooting.  Sometimes, in the aftermath of such a violent and tragic act, I can get a little prideful in being Canadian.  Nothing could ever happen like that here.  Canada is a safe place, a safe place for my children who can go to school each and every day with relative confidence about their safety.  They practice code whites and hid in closets and bathrooms, huddled together, pretending that there is a potientally dangerous stranger in the building.  But that's all they are doing -- pretending.  It's all about being prepared for some far off, likely will never take place possibility.  Right?  

So I work through that thinking, that somewhat tenious assurance that we live in a country where something so painful would never happen.  And then I begin to realize that I don't know for sure that it will never happen.  It just hasn't really happened to that scale yet.  We've had children lose their lives at school here in Saskatchewan. Let's not forget La Loche in 2016, where four people lost their lives.  But what's four compared to 14 or 20 children losing their lives?  Slowly, I realize that it could happen here, there is the chance that school shootings like our American neighbours have experienced could happen here... 

And it scares me.  I send my children to school each day surrounded by love and prayers, and the hope that in the face of a world that often seems bent on violence, that they know they are loved and cherished.  I hate that.  I hate that I wonder when it will happen here.  I hate that feeling of hopelessness and helplessness... 

And then I witness the teenagers from Stoneman Douglas High School speaking out.  The very same students who lived through the terror and confusion as their classmates were killed and injured, are now speaking out in support of stricter gun controls.  Instead of shrinking away, they are standing up.  They are giving voices to those who no longer can speak.  They are taking the President to task.  They are rallying, and speaking out, and countering violence with peaceful protest.  And they are rewarded with death threats and more fear.  It makes no sense to me.

For me, these teenagers, and the other children around the world who speak out in kindness in the face of violence.  And then this comic came across my Facebook feed and it dawned on me, this is what needs to be done and is being done.  We, I, as the faithful need to raise our children, our grandchildren, our godchildren, our friend's children with kindness.  We need to arm our tweens and teens with words and actions of kindness.  I can only imagine the Holy Spirit cheering us on as we work to find kindess and love in the world, using light to counter darkness.  All in defiance of loud, violent voices.  This is the kind of love and kindness that doesn't give up, it only gets stronger as it comes up against walls of hate and violence.  

So, I will do my best to raise my children to be forces for kindness.  I will do my best to be a force for kindness, modeling the same kind of love and kindness that Jesus offered in his life.  And in doing so, I will say to the forces of violence and hate -- Suck on that.  Amen.