Moving Past Thoughts and Prayers

Last night I held my son’s hand as he slept. I tried to imagine the grief of losing him.

I understand the realities of the world we live in. I understand we don’t live in a black and white world. Good and evil exist in shades of grey. We are all the heroes of our lives, but we can also be the villain of someone else’s life.

What I don’t understand is why we continually choose to believe violence will solve our problems. Someone I’ve known almost my entire life, someone I went to school with, someone who is now a teacher at the school my son attends, shared an opinion piece from NPR. Why do we expect teachers to lay down their lives for our children? That is not their job and their life is no less important than a child’s. Teachers did not enter their profession to be bodyguards, to carry weapons or prevent extreme acts of violence.

Unless you’ve chosen a career where you’ve sworn an oath to protect and serve, you aren’t prepared, nor should you be expected, to give your life in the service of others.

The United States is acting like country at war with itself. What will it take before we, as a nation, realize our neighbors are not our enemies? This is no way to live. There is no freedom in terror.

It’s time to move beyond debates, thoughts and prayers. It’s time to put words into action. Mental health is one piece of the puzzle, but so are military style semi-automatic weapons, glamorized violence, blind hatred, desperation, and a lack of empathy.

I am choosing to make a positive impact and lasting difference, beginning here- at home- because I want a better future for my child. Because all our children deserve better. We are the adults and it’s time we act like it.

Melissa Fruge