Over a month ago I was looking through pictures and one of our 8-year-old son stuck out to me. I must admit at the time, I was exhausted. This year has hit me to my core. I was weary, tired, and emotionally spent. When I saw this picture I immediately was renewed with hope. The picture was taken in October at the Austin AFSP Walk. The walk takes place at the Texas Capitol and after this year’s walk, K wanted to go inside and look around. My heart was already full from the event and from the fact that our little guy wanted to donate his own money to the cause.
So last month when I saw this picture of my son looking over the ledge of the capitol, wearing a Hope hat, I felt so much comfort. I thought to myself, he and other kids, are our hope…
Not long after this thinking, the shooting at Ulvalde happened. Once again the youngest of our school systems were slaughtered. Innocent lives are lost in the place where they go to learn, grow… a place that should be one of refuge not of being hunted. As I looked at this picture the night of the shooting, tears streamed down my face… you see I had read the picture wrong. My son (our kids) should not be our hope, we should be their hope. We the adults should be hope for those younger, but too often we mix it up. We expect more from those who are growing, developing, and learning than we do from ourselves.
I am at the Texas School Safety Conference this week. I had the privilege of presenting with a co-worker on how we are expanding the way we not only view but also approach suicide prevention. I am surrounded by so many whose mission and desire are to keep kids safe and while it is encouraging… it is also heavy.
Today the main speaker was going over the shooting in 2019 at STEM School in Colorado. Listening to what happened, I was struck at how we continue to find hope in the actions of students. The one student who died is the hero for sacrificing his body for others… Honestly, I want a time when a student doesn’t need to be the hero of a story. It is not their job to be the hero.
During the shooting one boy was shot in the back and fled the scene. When he realized he had been shot, he called his mom and all he could say was, “Help, mom.” Hearing these words, tears streamed down my face and all I could think of was the picture of my son with a hat on that said hope.
I am not sure what it looks like for me to help my son before it is too late. I don’t know how I bring him hope, but I promise you it is not inaction. It is also not just posting on Facebook or Twitter yelling that others are the problem. It is time we stop looking to our kids for hope and instead be the hope they need for a better tomorrow… I am humbled and I am broken… I know I have to do better because our kids deserve it, my kid deserves it.