About patticates247

I love to read, write, take photos, and wonder about everything. This blog allows me to share my thoughts on a variety of subjects. I wonder as I wander. Please share your thoughts and ideas with me. I'd love to hear from you!

Have You Voted Yet? Today Is The Day

Hi and happy Tuesday. Primary election Tuesday that is. May 1st as well often called May Day. Have you voted today or in early voting? I hope so. I did during early voting and am glad that I did.

Ian came with us to vote and helped choose the candidates.  He enjoys the process and is interested in knowing what happens. I am hoping it will stay important to him as he gets older.  After all, elections are the time when we can have our voice heard and vote for those we agree with.

Each vote counts and each vote matters.  May we choose wisely.  May we think about who we want to run the offices that are up for election.  We will be voting again in November for the mid-term Congressional races. That will be interesting and I hope not too ugly.

As a song in the musical Hamilton states, “Winning is easy, governing is harder.”  May we remember that and help elect those who will do right by us.  I don’t know about you but I am thrilled to live in a country where I get to help decide those who lead us and provide essential tasks for us. My hope is that they will continue to do so with honor.

If you have questions about voting, please contact your local Election Commission Office. They can tell you where to vote and who is on the ballot, or refer you to that information.  And when you go, please remember your Voter ID card and Photo ID.  That is what was required at our precinct.

A few quotes about elections and voting:

  • “Democracy is the only system that persists in asking the powers that be whether they are the powers that ought to be.” ~ Sydney J. Harris
  • “A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election.” ~ Bill Vaughan
  • “Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently and all for the same reason.” ~ José Maria de Eça de Queiroz
  • “The politicians were talking themselves red, white and blue in the face.” ~ Clare Boothe Luce
  • “People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote – a very different thing.” ~ Walter H. Judd

Celebrating The Life of First Lady Barbara Bush

Hi and Happy Monday.  How was your weekend?  Mine was good and quite lazy with some family time.  On Saturday morning, I watched the entire funeral for First Lady Barbara Bush.  It was a moving service and beautifully honored such an amazing woman. (Photo from Power Point clip art.)

I didn’t expect to be so moved or so touched, but I couldn’t help it.  After all, she was quite something.  The church was stunning with the pipe organ and fantastic choir.  The hymns were some of my favorites and I sang along with them.  The speakers were also great and gave lovely comments about her — Presidential historian Jon Meacham, friend Susan Baker, and son Jeb Bush.

All three of them had touching stories about Bar as she was affectionately called by friends and family.  They also had funny stories so there was laughter with the tears for the estimated 1,500 people in attendance.  They moved me at this celebration of her amazing 92 years.

Some of the stories I had never heard before and others I had.  As I listened, I was touched by what an amazing woman of integrity she was.  She lived life fully and seemed to enjoy every minute.  She loved with all of her heart her husband of 73 years and her 6 children, numerous grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren (I am not sure of the numbers).

One story was about visiting an AIDS clinic and holding babies and hugging patients.  That just wasn’t done in the 1980s since so much was not known about this disease.  Despite that, she showed and shared compassion.  She demonstrated loving others and being kind. She knew how important it was to those at the clinic and did it.

Some of the letters were shared between President George H.W. Bush and Barbara.  They showed the love they had for one another and it was beautiful.  And something to learn from about what real love is.  Jeb Bush also had a few funny anecdotes about his mother and how tough she was with him and his siblings.

She was honest, was considerate and helpful to others, was sharp-tongued at times, but from what was said about her it was done out of love and fun not vengeance or hate.  She was civil, had manners, served others and taught her family how to serve, and she taught her kids how to behave as well.

Barbara Bush is someone to admire and look up to.  She is someone we can have as a role model for ourselves and for our kids.  And frankly, she reminded me of my own grandmothers — Grams and Grandma.  They too were incredible women who loved their families, taught them manners and how to behave, worked hard in their chosen professions and interests, and loved to be with friends and family.

To all of these women, I say thank you.  Thank you for being beacons of how to treat one another, how to love, and how to know what is precious in life.  May we learn from you and treat others with kindness, respect, and love.  Always love.

The former Presidents and First Ladies and the current First Lady came to celebrate Barbara Bush’s life.  Seeing them all together in the pew and also in a photograph was  moving.  First Lady Melania Trump sat with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton.  They were across the aisle from President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

They came together to celebrate this amazing woman’s life and were civil to each other.  They hugged each other, they smiled, and seemed happy to see each other even though it was to celebrate the loss of someone so beloved.

If only we could again be friendly with those we don’t agree with.  To be kind to each other, to listen to and respect one another, instead of the constant distrust, hate, and ridicule of those who are different than us.  May we do better in our personal lives as we communicate with others.  And may we think before we post and share hateful things and comments on social media.

It was refreshing to see people being brought together to remember someone who truly knew what was important in life, who served her country, who cared for others, who lived a life with integrity, grace, and compassion for others, and who helped those she didn’t know.  The lovely comments about her from those who attended the service and those on the news were so welcome and nice to hear.

My hope and prayer is that we can all live this way again.  That we can be kind and loving to one another, that we can help take care of each other, that we can stand up for what we believe in without tearing others down or being hateful, that we can love and not hate, that we can praise and not ridicule.  And that we will always come from a point of love.

All Are Precious In His Sight

“Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” Thus goes a song I remember from my childhood.  I remember singing this at Vacation Bible School and Sunday School.  We learned that no matter what you look like or what skin color you have, you are precious to God and should be precious to others.

Sadly not everyone knows this or appreciates it.  Take for example the problems at a Starbucks coffee shop this week.  Two black men were arrested for being at a store but not ordering.  I think they were charged with trespassing.  I understand that quite a few people go to the shops for meetings and no one notices.

In fact at this incident, several witnesses who were white were filmed asking what is going on and speaking up that they too were just waiting for someone.  And yet these two men were put in handcuffs and escorted by police officers for doing nothing.  What the?!

The CEO appeared on Good Morning America this week and said this was despicable and should have never happened.  He apologized for this happening and wanted more information about why this happened.  He wants to apologize personally to these men.  And, he mentioned training for his staff.

In fact, the entire chain will be closed on May 29 for training for all employees.  I am impressed with him and his quick response to this problem.  He stepped up, apologized, and took action to make changes.  May we all do the same when confronted with problems or things that we can change or impact.

I just don’t understand in today’s society why this is still happening. I thought we’d moved on from this but sadly, it seems we haven’t.  Many still have prejudices and problems with others, often for no apparent reason.  I, for one, want these to stop.

We need to look past the color of another person, and many other attributes and see them for who they are.  People who can be our friends and who have come to a coffee shop for a meeting, or to a church to pray, or to a store to shop, or any other place they’d be going.  We shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that they are criminals just because of what they look like.

I cannot imagine living life always being worried about being arrested when I haven’t even done anything.  And yet, there are many people who deal with this each and every day.  That has to be hard to live with and not an easy thing to accept.  I feel for them and want to help make life better for them.

Surely we can do better for one another and treat each other with kindness, dignity, and respect, rather than skepticism, distrust, and fright.  We shouldn’t hate and fear those who look different than we do or those we don’t really know.  Instead let’s use common sense, kindness and compassion when we greet others.

Most children I know don’t see these differences, but instead see a friend who they can talk with, play with, and have fun with.  May we learn from these kids.

A few quotes to think about:

  • “Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom.” ~ Merry Browne
  • “Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.” ~Wayne W. Dyer
  • “One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.” ~Franklin Thomas
  • “I’ve learned this about judging people — you can have all the facts and not know the true story.” ~ Robert Brault
  • “If your lens is prejudice, you’re wearing the wrong prescription.” ~ Terri Guillemets

When Our Children Tell Our Story

“I may not live to see our glory. But I will gladly join the fight.  And when our children tell our story.  They’ll tell the story of tonight. 

“Raise a glass to freedom, Something they can never take away, no matter what they tell you.  Raise a glass to the four of us.  Tomorrow there’ll be more of us.  Telling the story of tonight.” — from “The Story Of Tonight” song in Hamilton: The Musical.  (Photo from Power Point clip art.)

A few of these lines were changed in the song mash-up that was performed at Saturday’s March For Our Lives Rally.  This was a place that our children did indeed tell our story and their story and it was so very touching, sad and tragic.  But also hopeful since they were speaking out and trying to move forward.

On that day and afterwards, I heard a lot of positive comments about how well spoken the students were, their ability to draw such crowds, and how meaningful the music and the words were.  They were amazing and are trying to turn their pain and suffering into action for something that they believe in.

I also heard doubts, criticism, disbelief of what they were doing, the fear of guns being taken away, conspiracy theories, questions about their sincerity, and the fear that the 2nd Amendment would be abolished. That is extremely unlikely since it takes a  majority in Congress and many other events to happen. There are many rules for that.

And I read posts that two friends of mine made and was taken aback.  One had a picture of one of the boys from Parkland, FL in front of a swastika flag and said he was only angry and questioned his motivations and his personality.  The other post said there was no way that these kids would be doing this on their own and that they were being propped up by people.

To the first point: My question on this is, why wouldn’t he be angry? Let’s not forget that his friends and teachers died in his school. Others were injured there.  And, he spent part of Valentine’s Day hiding in a classroom as bullets were flying and hitting those he cares about.  That is an unimaginable thing for a student to have to deal with.

Also, anger is part of the grieving process.  Let’s face it there is much to grieve for these kids — the loss of friends, the loss of siblings, the loss of teachers, the loss of innocence, and the loss of feeling safe at a school.

These students and their generation have been dealing with these losses for years and years.  I have seen them in interviews saying they are the mass shooting generation.  To realize they have seen these things throughout their lives is heartbreaking and should give us a window into their thoughts.

In interviews, the students said they are in charge of the money, and the message they are giving and making.  They said that they aren’t endorsing candidates. They also aren’t being told what to do by adults with their own interests.  That seems to be a hard thing for many people to believe.

And let’s remember that these students who were born before 9/11 or soon after have sadly known violence and bloodshed throughout their entire lives.  They have heard of or been touched directly by Columbine, Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglas, the Pulse nightclub, concerts in England and Las Vegas, churches in Tennessee and South Carolina, a movie theater, a campaign rally, a baseball game, and so many more.

They also have had to regularly practice armed intruder drills at school in the fear that this could happen.  My son’s elementary school is one of the schools that does this and I just hate it.  I hate that young kids have to practice how to be safe in this situation.  On the other hand, I want them to be prepared in case something does happen.

My last blog included the quote from Atticus Finch of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.  I think it would be good for us to do that with these young people.  Let’s stop putting our bias on them and think of what they have been dealing with.  We all do that whether we are in favor or them or not.

Imagine if you will, sitting at your desk in English class where you are about to take a vocabulary quiz.  You just had to stop at your locker to get your pencil since the other one broke in two as you raced between classes.  You then sit down and quickly say hi to your friends as the bell rings.  Your teacher then says hello and to get ready for the quiz.

You are writing down the third word when you hear pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, and screams.  Your training for hiding kicks in suddenly and you either hide somewhere in the room, you shield your friend from the flying bullets, or your teacher does.  The time seems to stand still as you hear screaming, crying, chaos, and a bullet striking your best friend.  You are frantic and not sure what to do.  So you nervously wait for what seems like hours.

You wait for someone to arrive to tell you it’s over, that you are okay, and that your friend who was shot will get that medical help he needs before he bleeds out on the floor.  You shake and try to call your parents who are equally freaked out.  You cry, you hold tight to your loved ones, and you realize that your life has changed and that school may never be the same again.

Were you able to imagine that?  I was and I cried.  Now I ask you, if you had been through all of that as a teenager, would you be the same afterwards?  Would you be sad, scared, mad, doubtful of humanity?  What would you feel?  What did these young people feel and still feel?

There are things in all of our lives that make an impact.  This is especially true of kids and teenagers.  Events mold them and stick with them.  I imagine these recent events will stick with these young people for years and years to come.

Whether you support them or not, let’s at least be kind to them and about them and try to understand where they are coming from.  Let’s not belittle them for trying to make sense of something that never should have happened in the first place.

Also, let’s be kind and loving to all of our young people. Let’s help them through tough times and support them in the good times.  Let’s be there when they need us.  Let’s help those who are at risk and who are having problems.  Let’s be better for them and for their futures.

To Considering Another’s Point of View

“If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb around in his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch in “To Kill A Mockingbird”

This is a tall order, isn’t it?  Considering someone’s else point of view?  What?  That is so not done these days.  Instead we spend our time attacking those who disagree with us.  Or we call them the enemy.  Or we post hateful things about them over and over again.  Or we campaign hard to ruin them.

This quote is from “To Kill A Mockingbird,” an amazing book and movie that starred Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.  I just bought a used copy of the book by Harper Lee and very much look forward to reading it.  When I finish, I will share my thoughts in a blog on the story, the characters, and what I learn.  I am sure that it will be a lot.

Now back to what he is telling his daughter to do.  He is saying that she needs to consider others and what their lives have been like.  She needs to see the world from their point of view and not just from her own.  And, she needs to spend time considering what they have been through.  She needs to walk a mile in their shoes.

I long for the days of healthy debate when people would strongly present their case, make their points but without malice or hate, and at the end shake hands and then go have a meal together.  I have seen that in a local courtroom, at county commission meetings and at other events.  It is possible to be friends with those you disagree with.  Well, it can be if people will respectfully disagree.

It would also be possible if we truly did consider what path someone else has been on or what has occurred in their lives to make them sad, to grieve, or to overcome problems and issues.  And, to know what makes them tick and makes them happy.  Instead, we berate each other, we tease each other, and we call each other horrible names.  Sadly, this is happening at the top of our government on down and it needs to stop.

How can we teach our children to behave and respect others when they see our president, congressional officials, and other leaders acting like children and being mean and hateful?  Also, people in entertainment and the news also demonstrate intolerant behavior and meanness to those who they don’t agree with.  Are we asking more of our kids than we are of our leaders?  It is like we are on a childhood playground but it’s the adults goading each other instead of the kids.

I want us as adults to be examples of how to behave and treat others; instead of being  warnings of how not to be, how not to treat each other, and how not to act.  Who is with me?  Who wants to help this change?  Who wants to find out about each other instead of making judgements and snap decisions?  Who wants to work with me in helping our children learn to be kind to each other and have us learn to do so as well?

I want us and our children to know that we can be friends with those we don’t agree with.  We can learn from them if we will only listen.  And, they can learn from us as well.  We can be respectful and patient, and kind.  And, we can remember that just because they don’t agree with us doesn’t mean they are the enemy.

I am saddened to see so much division, so much fighting, so much hate, so much distrust, so much anger, so much violence, and so much ridicule.  I instead want to see compromise, honor, respect, trust, peace, kindness, compassion, and love.  Is that too much to ask?

(These pictures are clip art in Power Point.  One is a scene of the movie and the other a copy of the book cover.  Thanks to my friend Reagan for suggesting this quote for my month of quotes.)



What Would Willie Do?

Yesterday, I went shopping at a used bookstore.  I found a few treasures of books for myself and our son.  We all love books so this was a fun outing for us.  With these purchases, I found a bookmark that states, “What Would Willie Do?”

I started to get so emotional since this reminded me of my grandpa’s character Willie and my grandfather.  My grandpa meant the world to me as did his stories. He would weave amazing adventures and such fun.  We learned a lot from him and were entertained at the same time.

Willie is a favorite.  He is an elf who lives in the woods in a cabin.  He always gets in trouble during his adventures while looking for where rainbows come from.  This blog title is from what he said at the end of each of grandpa’s stories.  “I Still Wonder Where Rainbows Come From.”

In these amazing stories, I remember what Willie would do.  Willie would try to find his answer, have a problem, and need help from his friends along the way.  Isn’t that what we all do in life?  We all have our share of problems and issues, and need our loved ones to help us through them.

This character and my grandpa taught me so much and I am forever grateful for that. I will smile and have fond memories every time I read this bookmark.  I imagine it will mean something to me family too.

I will have to think more about what Willie would do and what Grandpa taught us through those stories.  I think the notion of finding out answers and not settling until you know is so important these days.  We must remember to think, reason, and consider what we believe and what we believe others are telling us.

I still wonder where rainbows and so much more come from.  I have always loved rainbows and all that they mean to my family.  May you be blessed by the beauty and wonder of them and of wondering itself.

On another note — This was supposed to be the month of quotes each day.  My time hasn’t gone at all as I expected.  Computer trouble, online access problems, sickness, and busy times with school and work have led to very little time to write.

I may try again in April for that month, but will have to see how it goes.  Again, if you have ideas for some quotes, please let me know.  Have a great day and happy almost spring!

Red Carpet Quote — Mark Hamill

“There’s always a certain performance anxiety.  But it doesn’t matter whether it’s the Oscars or the PTA, just getting up in front of an audience, you don’t want to mess up.” — Mark Hamill.

This is my favorite quote from the 2018 Oscars Red Carpet.  Maria Menounos asked Hamill if he was presenting and if he was nervous.  This quote was his response.  She was a correspondent for Live With Kelly and Ryan. (The photo is from Power Point clip art.)

I really like this quote and the reference to the PTA.  I like how real this famous star is.  I like that no matter who you are speaking for, there are nerves and he gets that.  He was funny during the Oscars ceremony when he joked that there is a Jedi Pension Plan.

I have very much enjoyed seeing Hamill in a variety of interviews regarding Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  He has been funny, has a great perspective, knows how blessed he is, and is truly appreciative of the character of Luke Skywalker that he started playing 40 years ago.  He knows what a gift it all is and is appreciative.

What a breath of fresh air that is.  I wish that more people in the public eye could show their appreciation of their gifts rather than acting like jerks and thinking that the world owes them something.  If only more of them could be humble and willing to listen and know they are real and like the rest of us.

Public speaking does seem to be a common and real fear to many people.  I often am nervous before leading our PTO meetings or speaking out at events.  I used to be painfully shy and was a late bloomer.  In most ways, I have overcome that but not always.  Now I prepare and try to do my best.  And the more that I speak, the easier it gets.  Messing up can be a part of it but I hope to not do so.  Just like Mark Hamill.

Does public speaking make you nervous?  Do you get tongue-tied?  Any tricks you use to make it earlier?  Please share them.  Hope you have a great Tuesday!  More quotes again soon.

March – A Month of Quotes

Hi and Happy Thursday, March 1st.  This month, I plan to write about a lot of quotes that inspire me, that frustrate me, that mean something to me, that I have heard and wanted to think more about, and those that move me.

Please let me know if you have ideas to include in this.  I am not yet sure if I will write every day or every other day or how that will work out.  We still have a lot going on before the school’s spring break so I am quite busy.  But, I do want to and plan to make time for my blogs.

Today’s quote is something that one of the students from the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Florida high school.  “We call BS.”  — Emma Gonzalez.  This was directed at lawmakers, government officials, and gun advocates and was said very soon after the shooting.  I am sure it was offensive to some.  To others, I think it was a call to action.

It made me stop and think about what she witnessed first hand at her school.  This killing is something that no one should have to experience, especially not students at a school going about their normal routine. Instead, they should be safe and able to do what kids do — learn, hang out with peers and teachers, and enjoy life.

Gonzalez has moved me to tears more than once. She has also impressed upon me the urgency to do something and that she and others don’t want this to ever happen to anyone again.  Other students who have been speaking out have been equally as powerful.

These survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School seem to be following in their school’s namesake’s footsteps.  From what I have read, Stoneman Douglas was a journalist, author, a women’s suffrage activist, and a conservationist who defended the Everglades. She stood up and spoke out about what she believed in.  And, now these students are doing the same.

May we all learn from them and listen to what they have to say.  Even if we don’t agree, may be respect them and what they are dealing with. Let’s remember that they saw dear friends and beloved teachers get hit with bullets, suffer serious injuries, and saw some people die.  They hid in closets or under desks waiting for help and for the police to arrive. Then they went outside with their hands up and waited to find out who had been hurt or worse, killed.

I only hope to never be in their shoes. Instead, I will listen, respect them, and realize they are grieving but still taking action. There was a conspiracy theory that they were paid actors and that has been proven as wrong and incorrect. Instead, they are youth trying to find their way after a terrible tragedy.

Their actions have already started to make some changes that I am sure some people will like and others won’t.  Dick’s Sporting Goods will no longer be selling certain kinds of weapons.  Wal-Mart has changed the age of buying weapons.

I wonder if these terrible things will continue happening?  I hope and pray that they don’t.  I want our students and all of us to enjoy going to school and learning, attending school events, or going to church, or to concerts, or to movies, or to clubs without the fear of being hit by a bullet.

Teachers With Guns?

A few days ago, our President said he thought it would be good to arm teachers in our schools and give them bonuses if they are willing to do so.  What the?  I asked myself, is he serious?  Is this the thing that could help a school shooting?  Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this.

To expect our often underpaid and super busy teachers to also carry guns is unbelievable to me.  I wonder if he understands how much they are already doing for our young people. Perhaps this could be part of the discussion, but the entire issue of a shooting is so much more complex.

To me, asking them to also do this is a bit much. That is my opinion and I am curious what others think. On the news this morning, I heard in a rural school district, the administration and students were in favor of it.  And in that district, they are doing it and have a sign at the door that states there are guns on campus.  So apparently this is working in some places.  I do, however, have doubts and concerns.

To me a better option is to have each school have an armed and professional police officer/security officer/school resource office or SRO.  And let’s make sure they are trained to know exactly what to do in the case of an armed intruder. After all the skills, training, education, and expectations are different for a teacher than for a police officer.  Both are jobs that are extremely important to all of us and both pay much less than is fair.

I have teachers in my family, friends who are teachers, and have loved getting to know all of Ian’s teachers.  All of them work hard and do the best for their students.  They spend their own money and they have training throughout the year and in the summer.  They inspire our kids and teenagers. They teach them to read, to write, to complete math problems correctly.  They coach them, they teach them art or music, they teach them science, social studies, critical thinking, foreign languages, computer science, and so much more.

And, do you know how much time they spend doing their jobs?  Not just the 6 or 7 hours they are at school.  No it is so much more.  They still have to grade assignments, papers, make lesson plans, create and grade tests and quizzes, meet with parents, other teachers, the principal and vice principal, meetings with others in the district, attend PTO/PTA meetings after a long day of school, coach a team, lead the drama club, or practice an instrument.

They pay their own money each year since the budgets by and large do not cover enough to do this.  They volunteer for all kinds of projects and things to help their students.  Some also are in school earning Master’s Degrees to enhance their careers.  And they care for their students and show it each day.

The classes often have 20 kids or more and sometimes less.  Each student needs attention, needs to be reached, needs to be taught, and needs to be valued.  It takes time and effort to build up those relationships. It takes time to teach the kids and have them succeed.  Ian’s teachers all are fantastic at this and have helped him learn and have helped him succeed.  I cannot thank them enough for all that they do.

I am happy to be a part of the PTO at Ian’s school.  We are helping our teachers and students and have a great group of parents who know the importance of this work.   We have provided the extras for our students and our teachers. We replaced the 25-year-old audio and video system that the entire school will be using, gave money to all teachers to use during the summer for supplies, and bought books for a study for an entire grade.

Before I started, the PTO purchased new computers for the school’s computer class. There has been a lot more as well.  Many other PTOs and PTAs help with playground equipment, a variety of items for schools, money to help pay for transportation on a field trip, and so much more.  So, there are ways to help our amazing teachers in what they need in order to have a great learning environment for the students.

Back to our police officers and school resource officers, they too are very busy and important parts of a school’s success as well as a community’s success.  They have regular training, are busy building good relationships with our students and parents, they go to the firing range to practice, and they have drills and scenarios to know what to do.

I have respect for them as well and know several people who have worked in various roles in the sheriff’s department or police department, or at the school.  Some officers work with dogs as part of the K-9 units, others are on SWAT teams, others on bomb squads, others do traffic control and stops, others work at jails or prisons, and the list goes on.

My life has been blessed by knowing people who teach young people and by knowing those who protect and defend our young people and our communities.  I have a deep respect for teachers, administrators and assistants as well as police officers,  deputies, detectives, and auxiliary officers. The good ones do an amazing job for all of us!  For them I am thankful.

I wonder how this and so many issues will be resolved.  I also wonder what you think about this.

Sad Valentine’s Day

I don’t know about you but this has been a tough week for me.  I keep going from tears, to anger to shock and I didn’t even know anyone who was killed at the school shooting on Valentine’s Day.  It was truly a sad end to the day.

Imagine what the people with students there must be feeling.  When I do that, I do start crying since no parent should have to deal with this.  And yet, we have been for years and years and years.

My thoughts and prayers are with these families. I lift them up.  But, I also realize the time has come to do something so this tragedy no longer happens.  I want our students to feel safe at school.

I want to know what we are going to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again.  When are we going to make it that mentally ill people cannot buy guns?  When are we going to reach out and help those in crisis and calling out for help? When are we going to start reporting people who need help and then being sure our concerns are followed up?

When are we going to teach our young people that violence like this is not the way to solve the problems? Sadly, this violence is seen every day on television, in video games, on the Internet, movies, and the list goes on.  Some people may not understand the difference between fiction and these stories and real life.  When real guns fire real bullets at real people, there is death and injury.

I only wish the young man from Wednesday had known this wasn’t the way to solve his problems.  He was angry, had been expelled from his school, had many issues that were posted on social media, and had been reported to the FBI more than once.  Yet, he was able to buy an AR-15 weapon and then take a Uber car to the school and open fire.

As the bullets were flying, the football coach shielded his students and was killed in the process.  Extreme bravery was shown as well as the utmost in disrespect for life. I am sure that the coach wasn’t the only one to do this that day.  So many people — both adults and students — helped each other during that horrible time.

We adults must do better by our children.  We must teach them that all life is precious, that all people should be treated with kindness, and that everyone deserves a friend.  Also, we must teach them to ask questions or say something if they are concerned about a friend or about themselves.

We must teach them that mental illness is something to be treated as any other illness and not to be ashamed of or ridiculed. It is something that must be treated. Did you know that singer Demi Levato is offering free mental heath counseling on her upcoming tour? She is partnering with CAST to make this happen. Isn’t that great?  If only more people would step up and help like this.

It is now time for action.  It is time for us to speak up and help each other.  It is time for us to teach our at-risk young people that help is available and help them get that help.  It is time to not turn our back on those in crisis or needing help.  It is time to change some of those who can buy guns and when.  It is beyond time.  It is time for this to no longer happen.

CNN.com posted the following information this week.  It gave me chills and was a bit shocking. Even one of these deaths is too many, and yet here is the list of students, teachers, and administrators killed at schools.  Heartbreaking.

• 2018 — 17 killed in Florida high school shooting
• 2018 — 2 killed in Kentucky high school shooting
• 2017 — 2 killed in New Mexico high school shooting
• 2017 — 1 killed in Washington high school shooting
• 2017 — 2 killed in CA elementary school shooting
• 2016 — 1 killed in SC elementary school shooting
• 2014 — 4 killed in Washington high school shooting
• 2014 — 1 killed in Oregon high school shooting
• 2013 — 1 killed in Colorado high school shooting
• 2013 — 1 killed in Nevada middle school shooting
• 2012 — 26 killed in Sandy Hook Elementary shooting
• 2012 — 3 killed in Ohio high school shooting
• 2011 — 1 killed in Nebraska high school shooting
• 2010 — 1 killed in Alabama high school shooting
• 2008 — 1 killed in Tennessee high school shooting
• 2006 — 5 killed in Amish schoolhouse shooting
• 2006 — 1 killed in Colorado high school shooting
• 2005 — 1 killed in Tennessee high school shooting
• 2005 — 7 killed in Minnesota high school shooting
• 2003 — 1 killed in Minnesota high school shooting
• 2003 — 1 killed in Pennsylvania high school shooting
• 2001 — 2 killed in California high school shooting
• 2000 — 1 killed in Florida high school shooting
• 1999 — 13 killed in Columbine High School shooting
• 1998 — 2 killed in Oregon high school shooting

Blessings to you and yours.  May we remember to take care of one another.  May we truly give a damn and help each other  May we not think this is just how life is.  May we do better by our children, our young people, and each other.  And may we remember to always, always love.

(clip art from Power Point)