Sunday, October 08, 2006

Update on LOCKDOWN

I watched Dateline the other night, and the recent school shootings were the theme of the show that night. Meredith Vieria talked to the parents of Emily Keyes, who was killed in the recent Bailey, CO high school shootings.

Emily's dad, John Michael, did the two things I advised last week not to do. And I'm really glad he did.

I'm not recounting my advice to parents who are dealing with a lockdown at their child's school, but I'm allowing myself to see it from a desperate parent's point of view. After all, I am the parent of two high school boys myself.

Emily's dad, John Michael, went to the school, but stayed behind police barracades waiting for word about his sweet girl. When it was obvious that she was one of only two girls left inside with this maniac, John Michael was brought closer to the scene by a fireman friend. "I just needed to be closer to her," he said.

John Michael did not call his daughter on her cell phone, but he did text message her. Her response, her last words to her family, made it worth the risk.

"I love you guys."

That text message has been saved on his cell phone for posterity. Looking at it, even if hundreds of times a day, would be a comfort to me. How about you?

Many parents I've spoken with just want to know how to talk to their kids about the shootings. I don't need to reinvent the wheel here, so I direct you to some pretty good advice given by NBC's Nancy Snyderman.

The rules we try to enforce are meant to keep us safe. The advice I gave in my last post still stands. But there is no way on this earth that I would dare tell a parent of child caught on the inside of a potentially explosive and fatal lockdown to back off.

"Live with the least amount of regrets," my mother always said. The parents of Emily Keyes have no regrets about how they handled themselves that day. And how they're handling themselves now is a testimony to their character.

Forgive.