February 19, 2018

Anger And Fear

By Barry Rudesill

Last week, as part of our HEART group, we talked about “Anger and Fear”. Little did we know at the time how important that topic would prove to be. On Wednesday, February 14, a young man walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida school and opened fire. By the end of the attack, 17 people were dead.

In the aftermath, there are a lot of responses we’ve seen. These range from anger toward the school, the FBI, the Governor, the President, other students, and more; to fear over future shootings. These responses are absolutely to be expected since, for these students and others like them, their world has become unsafe.

Some of the parents and students are looking for answers...which they may never get. No one will likely ever be able to understand why the shooter did what he did; and, even if they could, it may never satisfy them.

For all of us at The Trek, the goal, at this point, should not be to try to understand the shooter, but to comfort those who were harmed:

  • For the students whose world became unsafe, we want you to know that we share in your sorrow. Please know that, despite the violence you’ve experienced, there are far more good people in this country than there are evil. We love you, we care for you, and we are here for you, if you’ll let us!
  • For the parents who lost children, the wives who lost husbands, and for anyone who lost a loved one because of this, please know that it’s okay to cry. Grief doesn’t dishonor your loved one, it simply shows the love you felt for them. Let the world see that love, and don’t worry about what anyone else may think.
  • For the school, please know that there isn’t anything anyone can do to stop someone who is intent on harming others. All we can ever do is our best. Living a life focused on shame won’t help anyone to heal. Instead, recognize the heroes, honor the departed, support the survivors, and live for the future.
  • For the community, please believe that the nation – the world – is standing with you. We share your sorrows. Many of us are not focused on the name or history of the shooter; instead, the only name we care about is “Parkland” because you belong to us.

For those of you who are angry because of this, it’s okay to be angry. Use your anger to protect others, to make changes, and to improve the situation for students everywhere. Anger can motivate us to change, but be sure that in your anger you don’t hurt others. Do not let anger be the legacy of this event, otherwise evil wins.

For those of you who are afraid because of this, it’s okay to be afraid. Anyone who experienced this first-hand or thought about it happening in their school would be afraid, too. Fear, like anger, can motivate us to protect ourselves, but be sure that in your fear you don’t retreat from everyone. If fear causes us to withdraw from those around us, cutting ourselves off from relationships that can help us to heal, then evil wins.

At The Trek, here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, there are limits to what we can do. However, we would like to do what we can. Because of that, we want to offer five free Student Edition subscriptions to any High School Principal for any school that may be interested. (Parkland, Florida schools can have access to the Student Edition free for a year, if they want!)  These must be used for students enrolled in your school and we encourage them to be used for students in Grades 10-12. All you have to do is visit www.thetrek.org and click on the “Contact Us” page to request your subscriptions. One of our staff will be in contact with you to help set up your accounts. (Please feel free to pass this message along to any school you know.)

It is our hope that we can support those who are struggling, provide peace for those who are hurting, and, perhaps, give the tools and resources to students who’s self-talk and core beliefs are leading them to hurt others so that they can choose differently.

This is a painful lesson to the nation. We have lost some of our best and brightest. Our thoughts and our prayers are with everyone who is suffering today.

- The Trek

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