As I sit here this morning drinking my tea I reflect on my emotions from this past weekend; anger, fear, sadness and anxiety. It’s Monday morning and the kids are rushing to get ready for school. This morning was different though. I didn’t feel the sense of urgency to get my kids out the door. I wanted them to stay home. But I am a realist. They needed to be in school. I heard my older son ask “what’s for breakfast?” My answer…. “CAKE”! They laughed and kept looking for something to eat. Once again I tell them that they can have cake for breakfast and they soon realize I am serious. The smiles were priceless.
Why would I feed my children cake for breakfast? Well, I need to take this story back a few years. It started with a bomb threat. In the fall of 2013 my sons’ middle school was turned upside down for about 2 weeks. I remember getting the first automated message that the school had a bomb threat that morning and the sheriffs’ department was on site. I didn’t hold too much stock in the threat. I thought to myself that someone was stirring up trouble, avoiding a test or seeking attention. The threat was written on the bathroom wall. As expected, the school was clear and students returned to class. Over the next few weeks it continued. Every other day was another threat. The students were evacuated and the school was searched repeatedly to no avail. It became a real nuisance.
As you can imagine parents were growing tired of the disruption and using Facebook to vent these frustrations. I continuously read how horrible the parents of these children must be. How they lacked attention and discipline. I was dumbfounded at the lack of concern for these families. They instantly were crucified before they were identified. Everyone placed judgement on the parents. I understand that our children are a reflection of us. But in return we are a reflection of our past as well. It’s a cycle. But in some cases the cycle cannot be broken based on the life skills each person is given.
I like to think that each of us is given our own tool box to survive in life. Some of us have really awesome tools and some of us have the only tools our parents could afford. As we judge these families we neglect to identify that maybe the parents were not fortunate enough to have the high end tools that we were blessed with. Maybe they are a reflection of their parents and they are doing everything they can to fill their box but are falling short. I admit there are parents that leave their tools in the rain to rust. But just maybe they were never taught how valuable these tools are.
Eventually the children that were calling in the bomb threats were caught and our community was back to the day to day events. About a week ago we received another call that said there was a bomb threat at the middle school. Jaded from the events of 2013, I didn’t put much value on the call. I even had a friend who was new to the school call and express concern. I explained to her the events of 2013 and blew it off. The next day another threat was made. “Here we go again” I thought. Fortunately by weeks end nothing else was said regarding the matter.
Then this happened. Over the weekend I was catching up on Facebook and came across multiple posts about two students at my daughters’ high school that were arrested for a credible threat to our students and faculty. These threats were legit. The news is currently reporting that two boys had plotted to call in a bomb threat to the high school and when everyone was evacuated from the building they were going to open fire on them.
I am having anxiety wrapping my head around the “what ifs.” I live in walking distance from the school. My daughter goes to this school. My community goes to this school. And it was going to start with a bomb threat. A previous threat that I didn’t hold much value in.
As reporters and news vans are in front of the school today I think about the families of these young boys. The events of the past week will spark debates on gun control, law enforcement protocols and parental responsibility. We want answers on how to avoid these potential tragedies. I just ask as we seek answers we wait to pass judgement. We may never really understand what causes a child to kill. We can state the obvious and assume the worst. But we should also look at the families behind these situations and see how we, as a community, can help them or other families who are having trouble filling their tool boxes.
So I ask you to hug your kids a little tighter today. Take advantage of the little opportunities to make them smile. For us it was cake for breakfast.