Teach Them Love :: Creating a Movement for Change

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Recently, we have seen devastating acts of terrorism and mass shootings displayed across the country. From small town churches and schools, to large concerts and news stations; the effects from such violence are felt close to home. Because of these scary times, law enforcement and first responders are being trained differently. More specifically, they must be trained on how to defuse and disarm an active shooter. My brother, a former Navy SEAL sniper, is someone who does this type of training. Owner and operator of The Shooting Institute, he travels the country working with law enforcement. He offers tactical training and firearm courses, creating realistic scenarios for the trainees to experience at the end of each course. Needing volunteers, he asked my son and me to be part of a school shooting course.

             mass shootings - training for officers mass shootings - training for officers  mass shootings - training for officers

The course was held at North Jefferson Middle School, and I was put in charge of videoing the officers entering and securing the hostage room. There were six teams, and we ran this scenario for each team to complete the course. Children of all ages, relatives and friends of the training officers, volunteered as actors. My son was the active shooter for one of the runs. 

This was made to be as realistic as possible, creating a chaotic atmosphere for the teams, and it was the actors’ job to help set that tone.

Alarms were blaring while smoke bombs went off, filling the halls with thick, green fog. You could hear pops firing from guns in the distance and officers yelling out. Whaling kids littered the hallway, with spats of [fake] blood around them. I sat perched in the corner of the classroom waiting for the officers to enter. My heart was pounding as I watched my son run across the hallway shooting a gun.

mass shootings - training for officers

It hit me hard that this has been someone’s reality — this has been someone’s child.

This is the world we’re raising our kids in. They are part of a confused, in some ways calloused, generation of people who see these horrific scenes played out daily. After assisting my brother with his course, I could not help but wonder, Why does someone think that bringing pain and suffering to a multitude of people is the answer? How do we eradicate such a growing problem, and where can I even start?

As much as I would love to keep my head in the sand and shelter my kids from the world, I cannot. “This doesn’t happen here” is no longer applicable, we see it on the news day in and day out. It happens everywhere! Hate and anger sprout like weeds and can consume the mind and soul of a person. I believe it is our job to teach our children about this, bringing awareness about these life-changing events and shining a light in dark places. Then maybe, just maybe, we can create a movement for change.

Teach them LOVE

After being part of the training, I had to answer some hard questions from my son. His mind couldn’t comprehend the amount of hatred it takes to bring harm to someone. We discussed safe options and how to handle a potentially life-threatening situation as well as recognizing unnerving behavior in others, and if needed, who to go to for help. But, it also opened my eyes to an opportunity to dive deeper and teach him about kindness and love. A love that far surpasses any affection we as humans can muster up. God is love — He is the author and creator of love. It is only by His power that we can drive out the wickedness and hatred.

mass shootings - training for officers - teach them LOVE

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”
Proverbs 10:12

You don’t have to be ultra-spiritual, or a religious person to agree; we all want our kids to love and be loved. It’s a safe bet to say that most parents teach about love. However, I want to encourage you to break down its meaning. Love is showing kindness, unselfishness, charity, and goodwill. We are called to love everyone, and we should teach our children exactly what love means. It is important to distinguish between gushy “hearts and flowers” love and a compassionate, caring, and kind friend love. 

Of course, this will not end all the wrong-doing in the world, but it could make a difference. It could be a beacon of hope in one destructive person’s dark life. Be the reason for that hope. Be the fire that ignites the little burning flame within your child. Let’s raise up a generation who can be a light in this dark world and change the pattern set before them. Teach them love, for love covers a multitude of wrongs.

“Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes,
always perseveres.
Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

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A native to the Birmingham area, Lindsay is a retired professional ballerina. She spent her time training and performing with prestigious dance companies around the country. Now, she is holding down the fort in Alabama, Lindsay lives with her loving husband, Ian and three children Nixson, Lily and Amelia. You’ll find Lindsay sharing her love for dance, as a ballet instructor; and in between the delicate in’s and out’s of being a wife and mother, she manages to squeeze in some time to sweat it out on her yoga mat. An active member of her church, Lindsay lives her life with unwavering faith and love for the Lord. Hoping to spread a little joy and laughter, Lindsay likes to share her life journey and stories from a comical point of view. Striving to live life fully by finding laughter in the chaos.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Great message in your blog today Lindsay. It is sad that our young people must go through this type of training but one that is so very important to do. I am proud that it is being done and proud of you for the professional manner you have presented it.
    Also, the challenge you presented to all of us to incorporate into our lives for making changes teaching children.

  2. This is a subject no one wants to talk about but it is our reality. I appreciate that you have challenged us to think about it and proactively prepare our children by having conversations with them just like we do with fire and weather safety. I especially love that you brought out the responsibility we have as parents in teaching our children to love others by being kind and having compassion for others. Well done Lindsay!

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