When you find yourself in darkness, look for the light.
Courageous students who witnessed last week’s horrific mass shooting in Florida are refusing to let darkness overtake them. They are speaking out and demanding change. They, rightfully, are holding adults accountable for failing systems that leave them vulnerable and afraid.
Lame excuses will not honor the brave students, teachers, coaches, and custodians who have lost their lives in our nation’s schools. It is time to get serious about solving the problems that weigh most heavily on our society. Those same problems nurture the insecurities that lead to violence in our schools and on our streets.
Children are neglected while adults refuse to grow up and act responsibly. We need change and we need to accept personal responsibility for creating that change. We cannot let issues that divide us defeat us. We must find common ground through clear, honest dialogue that does not condemn, but instead seeks to build understanding and cooperation.
Every life must matter. Every voice must be honored. We are wasting time. We are wasting lives.
“… one person’s efforts can be the gateway to helping others in their community find their own way to a better world.”
When news of the most recent school shooting reached my desk, I was making the final selections for the Working Class “Dream & Do” art challenge, sponsored by Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA Public Media. The contest invited students, parents and teachers, to create works of art depicting the world as they imagined it.
A drawing titled “Light the Way” by Heather Rose Quadrino was selected as the judges’ favorite among entries from students in grades 7-12. Heather, an 11th grade student at Delaware Valley High School in Milford, PA, said her drawing “depicts how one person’s efforts can be the gateway to helping others in their community find their own way to a better world.”
Thank you Heather Rose, for your inspiring work, which reminds us to look for the light in a time of overwhelming darkness. Heather and the students speaking out against school violence in Florida are using their voices, talents and creative energies to bring light into the world. They need our encouragement and support. They need it now.
Classrooms are meant for creation, not for destruction. We have the power to make change. We need to use that power now.
“We are like children with nuclear fusion in our hands – never fully grasping our potential for good and for destruction,” wrote Erwin Raphael McManus in The Artisan Soul. “It’s easier to control people if we convince them that they are inherently uncreative – everyone simply conforms and cooperates. If we want to create a better world, we had better start to unleash the creative potential inside each person to create all that is good and beautiful and true.”
“We are like children with nuclear fusion in our hands – never fully grasping our potential for good and for destruction.”
It is time that we take accountability for our failures and find creative solutions to problems that, for too long, we have ignored because we are afraid to challenge the status quo.
Please do your part to unleash the power of good in your corner of the world. You can help create change today. You can light the way.