Safe and Sound Schools
Empowering a Nation of Safer School Communities
Safe and Sound Schools

Out of the Mouths of Babes…

Recently, one of my daughters asked me why I’ve been traveling.  I rarely left our home during their little sister Joey’s lifetime.  Naturally, this change has taken some getting used to for my family.

Thinking this was where she was coming from, I started explaining that traveling was an important part of my job at Safe and Sound…I travel to talk to people and work with experts and professionals on making schools safer.  I reassured her that our family still comes first.

I was headed down the wrong cul-de-sac, though…

“It can’t be a job, Mommy.  You’re not getting paid any money.”

I just about spat out my coffee.

“Well,” I stalled, “not all jobs pay in money, Sweetheart.  Nobody pays me for doing the laundry, cooking, or grocery shopping, right?  It’s just part of taking care of our family.  The pay off is a happy, healthy, well-fed family.”

I paused to study her face and see how I was doing.  I had her attention…

“Safe and Sound is like a home, a gathering place for members of a bigger family.  People who visit our site, or invite us to their community, or help us learn and teach others, are working for the same pay off:  safer schools.”

“Well, who’s in this family?”

Detecting a little jealousy, I said, “Well, you are, of course! You want schools to be safe, happy places, right?  That’s why you work on safety all the time at school.”

“Well, yeah.  But who else is in this family?”

Fair enough…

“Teachers, Counselors, Principals, Firefighters, Police, Moms, Dads, Students, safety experts–anybody who wants to make schools safer,” I answered.

“Like the Colonel?”

“Huh?  Oh, you mean Col. Grossman?!”  Determined to keep a straight face and NOT laugh out loud, I realized she meant Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, who I had just met at his Lynchburg, VA seminar.

“Yes, he’s one of the people working hard on making schools safer.  You know who else was there?  A whole lot of students.  They were all college students at Liberty University who want to learn too.  In fact they ran the whole day and got “The Colonel” there!”

“And they’re all in the family?”

“Yep. All of ‘em.”

-MG

I’ll post more soon on my travels and the inspiring folks I have been meeting and learning from!

 

 

 

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Emotional Paralysis

It’s that feeling that comes over some of us in a moment of crisis or maybe in its aftermath. An inability to move, think, or even speak. Breathing is difficult, standing up causes dizziness. The ground is all that you can hold onto. You are not in control of your mind and body.

I felt it wafting over me on December 14th, 2012 but, I willed it away. I scurried about the firehouse and school parking lot, looking to help others, busying myself with task after task to avoid sitting in that reality for more than a moment. I have managed to keep it at bay for all of this time.

I have pushed through every trauma “trigger” that threatened to paralyze me this year. The flashing lights of police cars, the sounds of ambulance sirens speeding by, the sight of my daughters’ boarded up elementary school, Joey’s birthday, the holidays, and the anniversary. I even sent out Christmas cards with one daughter unnaturally absent. I was determined to defy those triggers and mile markers. I still am.

What I didn’t count on is the sense of walking through quicksand that I am feeling these last few days. I am taken by surprise, caught off guard.

No amount of hard work can take away what happened to my youngest daughter and my family that day. That is what threatens to paralyze me.

So I close my eyes (I can actually type this way), and remember one of the last things I said to my daughter. “I love you and I won’t give up. Ever.”

The couch and the blanket are looking really good right now. But I made a promise…

And all of you who said you would help me had better get ready. It’s on days like today that Alissa and I are counting on your support. Whether through prayer or encouragement, your efforts in your own community, or by making a donation to our mission, we need to know that we are not in this alone.

Looking at the work ahead, I have to remind myself again of that promise I made to Josephine.

So I’m casting off the blanket and climbing off of the couch now… You with me?

MG

 

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