I host a little radio show for moms because I value them. I value their kids. And, I value the nation where those moms and kids live.
But, this week, that nation has focused on misguided solutions to the tragedy that unfolded at an elementary school in Connecticut. Those so-called solutions have masqueraded as high-minded debates on gun control, mental illness and medication.
Please tell me we are not going to try to solve one battle unfolding in our nation’s schools by turning it into another battle in our nation’s political arena. The second battle will NOT solve the first. When a young man picks up his mother’s gun and brutally steals the lives of 20 precious children and the adults protecting them, you CANNOT reduce that act to an oversimplified debate between the NRA and Gun Control. There is so much more that festers behind the scenes.
Behind the scenes, there are families in crisis. You see, I think like a mom… so I think of the families. That’s why I sobbed for the mothers and fathers on December 14th. I mourned for the parents who lost their tiny, smiling children — children who were looking forward to a Christmas that will never come. I think like a mom, so I ache for the mother who was shot in the face by her deeply disturbed 20-year-old son. I even ache for the young man who committed those unthinkable crimes. What could have been so wrong in his life that he would rob the world of those precious & beautiful people? I think like a mom, so I see the family members behind this tragedy — the loving parents, smiling 6-year-olds, and talented teachers. And because I think like a mom, I also see the family of Adam Lanza. Somewhere along the way, his family broke down. And then, he set out to break down other families.
And, that is where the complicated solution lies. Families. And, broken families cannot be solved by government alone. That must start with every, individual American, deciding that family matters. It does not just “take a village” to raise a child… it takes a family. It takes a family to carefully address a child’s mental health issues. It takes a family to spend time with a child, in order to monitor things like violent video game usage and erratic or anti-social behavior. In fact, research suggests that kids whose parents spend significant time with them are less likely to commit crimes or land in jail. Research also suggests that kids raised in 2-parent homes (with some exceptions) are less likely to get into trouble. Those are facts. This is family.
I do not condemn single moms or single dads. In fact, I admire many of them. I do not condemn people who work hard to feed their families, with little time left to devote to their kids on a daily basis. I do not condemn a mother, who was trying to address her son’s mental illness and disabilities, but failed to do so.
Instead, I contend that family is a major ingredient in the solution to the violent mass murders that continue to unfold in our schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and churches. Families in America are malnourished and maligned. So, I stand up for family, as a part of the solution for what ails us. I think our nation needs to stand up too.
And, may God help us stand.