In the spring of 2008 Paul and I were in school together at Logsdon Seminary. One spring day we were invited out to a professor’s house to a “party” with other seminarians and a couple of other professors. While we were there I remember talking to one of our professor’s who (at the time) had his grown daughter living with him, as well as his 2 granddaughters. Not being too familiar with his personal life, I asked if he only had one daughter. He replied that he did. I remember him telling me that he and his wife had several LONG discussions about whether or not they wanted to have children at all. Their main reason (although I’m sure there were a few) was they were not sure they wanted to bring a child into such a sinful world. He and his wife just couldn’t imagine raising a son or daughter in a world that is perverted with sin, destruction, evil, and corruption.
I’ve been thinking about that conversation a lot lately, thinking back to how weird I thought it was at the time.
What a strange reason not have a child…Sin? Destruction? Evil? Corruption?
Such pessimism…..such a debbie-downer….such a weird-o.
And, yet, now, 6 years later, it makes complete sense and I agree with it more and more each day.
About a year go I wrote this post, shortly after the shootings in Connecticut. It is a beautiful poignant blog post (if I do say so myself). UNfortunately, it still applies today. I wish I could say with confidence that school shootings have decreased, but alas, they have not. Today is February 2nd. For our school district (and on average probably most school districts) our students have been in school for 17 days since coming back from Christmas. Just over 3 weeks. And yet in those three weeks there have been 11 school shootings around the United States–11!!! That’s an average of one per day….no wonder our professor thought we lived in a sinful world–and that was 6 years ago!
January 9, 2014-A student was charged with bringing a gun to school at Liberty Technology Magnet High School in Jackson, Tennessee and shooting a fellow classmate in the thigh. The incident occurred outside the front of the school.
January 13, 2014-A 14-year-old boy was shot outside of a basketball game at the Hillhouse High School athletic facility in New Haven, Connecticut, suffering wounds in his hand and leg.
January 14, 2014-Two people were shot and wounded inside the gymnasium of Berrendo Middle School, at about 8:10 am. An 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were airlifted to a hospital in Lubbock, Texas in critical condition. The 12-year-old suspected shooter, Mason Campbell, a seventh grade student, was apprehended at the scene after he was talked down by a staff member and dropped the shotgun. A staff member received minor injuries. Campbell is facing charges of three counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. He faces a maximum sentence of confinement in a juvenile detention facility until he is 21 years old.
January 17, 2014-A student allegedly shot two other students in the gymnasium at Delaware Valley Charter School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both victims, a male and a female, were shot in the arm. They were taken to a nearby hospital and are in stable condition, police say. Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said at a news conference that the shooter ran out of the school after the shooting but was taken into custody near his home. 17-year-old Raisheem Rochwell was arrested and charged as an adult for aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and firearms offenses.
January 17, 2014-Albany Police said a 16-year-old Albany High Student in Albany, Georgia, student was shot near the school Friday afternoon. Dougherty County School Police Chief Troy Conley said the student had “wandered off campus” and was shot once in the left arm. The unidentified student has been transported to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. There was no immediate word on the student’s condition. Police were investigating the incident at press time.
January 20, 2014-One person was shot and critically injured at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania. The incident occurred around 10:00 pm outside the university sport’s complex and led to an 8-hour university lock-down. The suspect was not immediately found.
January 21, 2014-A 21-year-old student, Andrew Boldt, was shot and killed in a classroom building on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayete, Indians. A suspect, 24-year-old student Cody Cousins, was arrested and charged with murder.
January 24 2014-A 20-year-old student was shot and killed at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. A 19-year-old was arrested and charged with murder.
January 27, 2014-A group of students at Rebound High School in Carbondale, Illinois, got in an argument in the school’s parking lot. One student pulled out a gun and shot another student in the ensuing altercation. An 18-year-old suspect is facing charges of attempted murder.
January 28, 2014-A 17-year-old boy was shot in the wrist after attacking police officers with a kitchen knife at President Theodore Roosevelt High School in Honolulu, Hawaii.
January 30, 2014-Three students were fighting in a parking lot of Eastern Florida College in Palm Bay, Florida, and one pulled out a gun and shot another of the students. All three student claimed self-defense.
Honestly, for more than half of these shootings I didn’t even know about them until I looked them up. Yes, I understand they were probably covered on the news (which I don’t watch) but some of them probably didn’t make national news, just local. So, since I don’t live in Indiana, Florida, or Pennsylvania, I didn’t hear about them. Or, if I did, it was sandwiched between Michael Strahan getting picked as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2014 and Justin Bieber getting thrown in jail for a DUI. See, it has just become routine news. Mundane. Everyday. As if we’ve desensitized ourselves to it.
But, why? Why are these shootings happening? Why are children (teens) so angry?
It’s a given….the pressures of life in this present wicked system can make people feel angry. (see Ecclesiastes. 7:9) Often, this anger leads to hatred and outright violence. Wars rage between and within countries, while family tensions bring conflict right into many homes. Such anger and violence have a long history. Cain, the first son of Adam and Eve, killed his younger brother Abel out of jealous anger. Cain committed this vile deed even though God had urged him to control his emotions and had promised to bless him if he did (Genesis 4:6-8).
I hate to bring it up, but I’m pretty sure my mom used to tell me “Life’s not fair.” And, after 33 years, I’m starting to believe her.
- Things don’t always happen the way you planned.
- People don’t always treat you the way you think you should be treated.
- Someone else may have more than you, though you believe you tried harder.
Don’t go to pity parties or get bitter every time you don’t get what you think you deserve. When you hear yourself bemoaning your life, habitually blaming others for your troubles. It’s time to do a “response-ability” check. In what ways do YOU have the ability to improve the situation by responding differently?
The world “owes me” is a false premise. Children/teenagers are the worst with this…..
- I want….
- I should get….
- I deserve….
We have so many LIFE-GIVING, LIFE-ENHANCING resources and opportunities at our disposal (more than the rest of the world will ever know about, better yet see). There are GIFTS! They deserve gratitude, not our indifference.
Rather than complaining, let’s live the words of Ghandi: “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
“There is No Perfect Game”
On Friday night I took 2 Middle School girls with me to watch the Varsity girls basketball game at our High School. Over the last 2 seasons of basketball I’ve been to quite a few games here in Giddings. This year has been the worst. The fans have been awful. I’ve had moments where I’ve walked out because I couldn’t stand the yelling anymore. There have been moments when I’ve been a little embarrassed to be a “Buff” when the parents/fans are yelling and screaming at the referees, telling them how horrible they are and how they need to learn how to “call”—in other words, our fans weren’t getting their way, so they were retaliating against the one person(s) who they thought deserved it. But, in reality, they were the ones who chose to respond the way they did. My philosophy is “unless-you’ve-been-a-referee-or-are-ON-THE-COURT, seeing-the-plays-at-‘eye-level’ you cannot make that judgment call”.
One of the 8th grade girls that was with me is very wise. Her response (to the fans yelling and me trying to apologize for their behavior) was, “There is No Perfect Game.” Someone is always going to be disappointed by the calls made or the outcome of the game. That’s life. It may not always be fair. Your child may not play well. Your child’s team may not win. Your team may get some unfair (relativity speaking) calls made against them, but you have to be OK with that…..
You have to rise above the others and be an example for the younger generation. And until you learn to do that, we will always have violence in our schools because of….you.
The evil one comes to kill and destroy (John 10:10) and often that spirit caters to the imperfect flesh and is in total opposition to God’s Holy Spirit and its fruitage. Indeed, a fundamental teaching of Christianity is not to retaliate under provocation. (Read Matthew 5:39, 44, 45.) How, then, can we more fully apply Jesus’ teachings?
By living and loving and basing our lives on God’s Word.
Ephesians 4:29-“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. Henry James