I’ve had something on my mind a lot lately. What better place to spill it out than on the internet where I can be torn to pieces by the internet trolls?? Okay, that was sarcastic, but also kind of true. I have had some thoughts lately that have been spurred by some recent events in my life. This post will be dabbling in some politics, so feel free to skip it if you prefer to read my upbeat day to day postings.
A Message to my Baby Boy
I recently posted the following letter and accompanying picture on my personal Instagram page:
“My dear baby boy,
“I’ve been thinking about you so much this past week. I guess maybe things have become even more real. People now recognize it’s you inside me and not my lunch. You are moving like crazy, giving me heartburn, keeping me up at night (hence this post), and making me smile. I am so excited to meet you.
“Tonight I was thinking about you. Right now you’re with my Heavenly Father, just waiting to come here. In just three short months He will pass you from His arms to mine. He’ll hope with all His heart that your daddy and I will teach you how to make it back to Him. The weight of that responsibility is tremendous. It is intimidating, nerve wracking, exciting, and oh so precious.
“I can’t wait to hold you. So new, so pure, so perfect. Fresh out of God’s presence. Untainted by the world. I am so excited to meet you. I love you so much already.
“For right now, keep on cooking! Your dad and I still need a little more time to be ready for you. Know you are already loved more than you can comprehend. God is good, and for some reason He is entrusting you to our care. We promise to do our best.
“All my love,
The Florida Shooting
If you don’t know what event I’m referring to here are a couple links you can catch up on:
My Facebook feed is filled with both liberal and conservative views about gun control, shootings, etc. It seems that everyone has a political agenda to push. Well, I think we are all having the wrong conversations about this topic.
Our Parental Responsibility
As I’ve been preparing for my baby boy to come into our family, I have felt a weight resting on me. I am very religious and involved in my faith. I believe that we all lived with God before we came here, and that my son has been with him. To be a parent and be given the power to create a little person is a HUGE privilege. I don’t take that privilege lightly. I feel blessed to have had a healthy pregnancy and pray that he continues to grow and develop as he should before he is born.
Lately, I have been feeling the pressure and responsibility of my Father in Heaven entrusting one of His little ones to my care. This little person whom I will hold in my arms in just 3 short months will be born to me fresh, pure, clean, without sin. As he grows, my husband and I will be responsible to teach him right from wrong. We will encourage him to be kind, tolerant, loving, respectful. Ultimately, he will be free to choose how he acts and what he wants to do, but not before we have equipped him with the tools and principles necessary to succeed in this life as an upstanding citizen.
I think we’re having the wrong discussion about public shootings. I am truly sickened by the inhumanity of such incidents. It scares me to be bringing a son into a world where he could be attacked in his own school. All that being said, I do not want to diminish the tragedy of such events in my next comments:
When a drunk driver kills a person on the road, is our reaction to ban the use of cars because they’re too dangerous? I’ve never heard of such a thing. No one blames the car, they blame the person who was driving under the influence.
So why are we blaming guns for people problems? The gun didn’t decide to leave the house and kill innocent people.
Now, I believe there should be strict rules for gun use. Just like you must pass a driving test and get a license before you can drive, I think gun purchase and use should be monitored, but I also believe the guns are not the issue here. We are having the wrong conversations.
The “Safe School” Flaw
I am a normal looking person. If I wanted to, right this second, I could walk into the high school in my neighborhood. I’d waltz in the front door and make my way down the hall. I would probably get stopped by a teacher or other employee who would ask me where my visitor badge is. I could say something like, “Oh my goodness, I totally spaced grabbing that! Must be the pregnancy brain. I’ll head there right now.” We’d laugh and part ways. I could then NOT go to the office and just keep walking. I could do that because who would suspect me? I look like I know where I’m headed, and I could just feed the same line to the next person who stops me.
On a less hypothetical note. A few months ago I was interviewing for a job at a high school in my county. In the email the teacher I was interviewing with said to me, “Don’t worry about signing in, they don’t track that too close anyway. My classroom is toward the back of the school, so you could actually just come in the back door if you want. They usually forget to lock that one.” True story.
How can it be that we have greater protection in place in government buildings full of grown men and women than we do in school buildings where we send our little children every day?
One of my friends shared a post on Facebook about retired military men and law enforcement officers becoming school cops. I think that is a wonderful idea! Who better to protect the children then men trained in combat and protection? I don’t know a single veteran who wouldn’t be thrilled to serve in such a way.
Why aren’t we discussing school security? Why aren’t we discussing the fact that my high school had a school cop that lost a foot race to a high school girl at an assembly my junior year? Why aren’t we figuring out how to stop any old person from walking the halls of a school? In my mind, that is the conversation we should be having before guns.
The Reality of Mental Illness
When I was a freshman in college, I rode a steer in a rodeo. It sounded like a way to let my hair down and live a little, but ended in a severe head injury and long recovery. During that time I felt lonely, because from the outside I looked like everybody else. On the inside, however, my brain was hurt. In my mind it was no different than any other broken bone or illness, except no one could see it. No one could see the frustration I faced when I couldn’t retain information in my classes. No one could understand how it felt to not be in control of my mind. No one noticed the emotional toll my recovery took on me. All because they couldn’t see the inside and the outside looked normal. That is how mental illness can be too. But why do we still dismiss it as if it is not a real issue?
If my child breaks his arm, I will take him to the hospital and get him all the care he needs and deserves. Don’t we have the same responsibility to take care of our children who have mental illnesses or other social disabilities? They never grow out of our care.
I am not going to sit here and make accusations about the Florida shooter or any other. These people are mentally ill and come from a host of different circumstances. However, I will say this about future shooters: what is happening for them at home right now? What makes a killer, a killer? We can go into biology, social dispositions, and brain defects or whatever, but I would submit that it starts in the home. I would say that it starts with parents, siblings, friends, teachers, church or community leaders. It takes a village to raise a child. Will the village be bold and see warning signs of mental illness? I know that as a child if I scraped my knee in front of my friend, she would’ve helped me up and offered me a band aid. What is the difference when we see signs of mental illness or injury? Why are we afraid to speak up? Do we feel the weight of our responsibility to care for another child of God in this life when a child enters our home? Do we take that responsibility seriously and personally? Are we humble enough to admit when we need help or when a situation is bigger than ourselves?
It Starts in the Home
David O. McKay, a leader in the LDS church, said “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”
Sometimes I feel myself shrinking at the responsibility of raising my son. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I believe that feeling that weight is important to my taking parenting seriously. He will be on loan to me for his mortal life. But he’s only my earthly son. I still have to answer to his Heavenly Father, who I hope I can direct my little boy back to. Perhaps if we quit taking God out of our politics and our homes we may be a little more accountable. Perhaps if we quit shirking our responsibility and carrying the mindset that our actions don’t affect anyone (speaking particularly to my millennial generation here because we are the most guilty of this) we may better contribute to society. Perhaps if we start caring a little more and loving a little more, we may actually feel a responsibility to the people around us. Who knows, we might actually look outside ourselves and lift the down trodden! Perhaps if we start seeing life for the gift it is, we won’t waste a single one. We will live our lives to the fullest, we’ll strive to give our children their best lives, we’ll do our best to improve the lives of people around us. Now wouldn’t that be a wonderful world?
My Closing Thought
And just like that, my thoughts are opened to cyber space. They are now exposed for scrutiny, hate, bashing, and trolling. My views tend to be conservative. I don’t share them on social platforms often, because they are sacred to me. But I will not be gagged from sharing what I think is so important. In the end, I’ll just keep on doing my best. I’ll pray, I’ll go to church, I’ll have a baby and try not to mess him up. I will love fiercely, serve diligently, fall short over and over again, and never stop trying. If my message today touches even one heart, then there will be two of us out there. Ultimately, we’re all going to do what we’re going to do. My prayer is simply that we’ll “try a little harder to be a little better.” I pray we never let the world tell us we can’t love, serve, and teach our children right from wrong. I pray we never let the world tell us we can’t worship God. I am not a huge fan of the band Big & Rich, but I do think this song nails me plea. And for the record, I believe the scale hasn’t tipped yet: there is still more good in the world than bad.