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A call to parents raising children in a terror stricken era

How do we raise our children in this world? 

I want to take a step back from the politics, the rhetoric, the trending hashtags and prayers vs. gun control debate. I want to address how our generation is going to raise our children in the era of mass shootings. Random mass shootings in our country. 

I had not realized how much the fear of terror so close to home had affected me until I was at a Christmas concert at my church this past weekend. While listening to beautiful orchestra reverberating "Joy to the World' I began to think...what if there is a shooter planning on coming in here? My back is to the entrance. I began to fill with anxiety instead of peace. I heard a little boy asking his mom if a musician with his instrument was in fact a "guy with a big gun".  

When did a concert I have attended most Christmases of my life turn into something other than joyous? 

Growing up, it was normal for me to hear Tom Brokaw or Diane Sawyer on the evening news along with the smell of onions sauteing in butter on the stove. My mom was a journalist and a firm believer in exposing us to current events. I was somewhat aware of something going on in Bosnia and Clinton doing something I didn't quite understand. 

So naturally I am of the mind to have the evening news on around my children. Until last week. And for some reason my son seems really interested in watching the news. Unlike my young self immersed in Nancy Drew. 

I am forced to examine my values, beliefs and reactions to the current atmosphere and determine how I will react and model this reaction to my children. 

1. Courage 
I aim to raise brave children. Children who become adults who have the courage to stand up for what's right no matter what the consequence. This looks like us continuing to enjoy life and not stop doing things we love to do for fear of the unknown. This looks like me modeling to my children how to speak up and say something when necessary. It looks like standing up for somebody when it is not a popular thing to do. 

2. Integrity
We will not allow anything to waiver our values. We will not let fear, prejudices, or popular rhetoric influence our strong belief to love our neighbor as ourselves. 

3. United We Stand
I will teach my children the foundation of our country. About the freedom of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. About equal protection. About freedom of speech.

My message to you is this. As mothers, fathers and members of this generation it is our responsibility to stand together united. We cannot teach the next generation about freedom and justice if we bicker between ourselves. We have power as a people. We are the people who have great influence day to day. We can influence good. We can come together strongly to support our core beliefs and values as a nation. 

This is our responsibility as mothers and fathers. Not to talk trash about this side or that side but to show our children what we really stand for as a country. We need to have the courage to continue to shine our lights and bravely love in a broken world.  


  1. Dana,

    Thank you for sharing these inspiring words. Your children are lucky to have parents willing to set a positive example. We all have a choice in how we respond to the events in our world. I applaud your choices.

    Uncle Brian

  2. Love this Dana! It's amazing how everything shifts from the perspective of a parent.


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