What Do Our Children Tell Us? – Message From the CEOMarch 1, 2018
Two weeks ago, my message in this space asked the question: “What Do We Tell Our Children?” I got it wrong. I wrote that column less than twenty hours after the tragic shooting at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida. As a parent, I had immediately thought about the difficulty in explaining another invasion of “safe space” to all of our children.
As I learned, I asked the wrong question. I should have known to ask: “What Do Our Children Tell Us?” In the past two weeks, it has been the students of Douglas Stoneman High School who have been leading the conversation. Their voices of passion and alarm, and of reason, have risen above the usual noise and challenged us to get beyond our differences and move to action. They have been relentless. They come from a place of experience that few of us want to share. And, most of all, they have been reasonable, asking for the kind of common sense from our policy makers that often seems to be absent.
They want more complete and rigorous background checks for purchasers of firearms. They want better mental health screening and treatment. They want a ban on the purchase of assault weapons like the one that changed their lives forever. They are demanding “that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools” (marchforourlives.com). It is time for us to listen to our children and act.
Lee Sherman, President & CEO