It has been a rough week. The shooting in a Florida high school has rocked our country to the core. Again. The pain feels so familiar, yet so new. So raw. So unfathomable.
In the midst of sadness for the loss of innocent life at the hands of one so young and the brokenness of our society, there is anger. And fear. And hate. And finger-pointing. And misunderstanding. And polarizing debates surrounding gun control.
I want to hide from it all. My instinct is to gather my loved ones close and disconnect from the world that is overflowing with evil, despair, and blame. I want to shut out the voices shouting that we are doomed, that society is irreparable, that we cannot trust anybody, that fear need be our companion every time we send our kids off to school.
I don’t want to worry about the future and what it will look like if we keep going on our current trajectory. What about my kids? And their kids? Will they be safe going about their daily routines? Or will they be swallowed by the vicious monster that threatens to tear us apart?
Several years ago, I was considering a few different educational paths for my children. They were getting older, and the worries of middle and high school were looming overhead. School shootings were happening more frequently, not to mention drugs, sex, bullying, and all manner of illicit behavior that seemed to be almost commonplace in the halls of our local schools.
At that point, I had never considered homeschooling my kids because I was sure that none of us would survive such an endeavor. But I was terrified as I looked at what influences they would face in the halls of their schools as they got older. For the first time, I thought it would be a good idea to keep them home with me so I could control their learning environment and keep them safe.
I prayed long and hard for direction, and the answer I got was clear and undeniable, bringing peace to my troubled mind: “The world needs your kids and the light they have to offer. I sent them to earth to shine. You and I have both prepared them for this. They are strong and capable and will bring goodness and hope to their schools and the people they will interact with there.”
While homeschooling was not the right path for my family, as much as I wanted it to be, I have nothing but respect for those who pursue it. Each family must make that decision on their own, and it will be different for everybody.
But that day, as an answer to fervent prayer, I realized it was not my job to shelter my kids from our sin-sick world, but to prepare them to stand firm, live faithfully, and shine through the darkness that would surround them. That prospect is daunting at best. Sometimes, I feel like I am encouraging them to swim with the sharks, hoping they will not get eaten alive. There are days when fear creeps into my heart, and I wonder how I can possibly send them back for another day of the madness that is called high school….