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"Walk up, not out" by Kelly Guest (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2018 Mason Fife. Used with permission. All rights reserved.[/caption] A month ago, a young man walked into his school with hatred in his heart and a gun in his hand. Before he walked out again, 13 students, two teachers and a custodian were dead. It is a tragedy that breaks hearts and stirs the mind to wonder why. There are no easy answers. So many things went wrong; too many mistakes were made; all the warning signs were ignored. A true tragedy. It shattered the lives of so many in Parkland, Florida. Likewise, it has shaken the lives of many others around the country. A place where students are supposed to be safe no longer feels secure. The atmosphere in schools around the country is tense. Adults and students argue about what needs to be done "to make sure this never happens again." What's worse is the lack of respect and civility that often accompanies these discussions. The fact of the matter is, evil exists. We will never be totally safe from it. Soon after the beginning of time, evil deceived its way into the world. The peace and security of paradise was lost. The first tragedy outside the garden was murder. The hatred and jealousy that leads someone to take another life has been with us from the start of our history. How can we change that? I have a suggestion. It is in one sense an over-simplification. And I do not, by any means, think it will solve the world's problems. Nonetheless, by God's good grace, I am confident that it can make a difference, and if enough people do it, a big difference. Therefore, instead of walking out of school on March 14, encourage students to walk up. Walk up to the kid who sits a lone at lunch and invite him to sit with your group. Walk up to the kid who sits quietly in the corner of the room and sit next to her, smile and say hi. Walk up to the kid who causes disturbances in class and ask how he is doing. Walk up to your teachers and thank them. Walk up to someone who has different views than you and get to know her: you may be surprised at how much you have in common. Build on that foundation instead of casting stones. Our opinions may differ, but as God's children, we have much more in common than not. So, I challenge students to find 14 students and 3 adults to walk up to on March 14 and say something nice in honor of those who died in Parkland, Florida. All of us need to make this concerted effort every day, starting today. Still, if on the one-month anniversary of this tragedy, we remember the people who lost their lives in this caring way, perhaps the atmosphere of our schools will begin to change. They say God is not allowed in our public schools. God, however, is found in the heart of every faithful follower. We take Him to school and to the workplace with us. We preach Him every time we reach out to others in love. Let us walk up and share His love. That is how we will truly change the world!
Copyright 2018 Kelly Guest