The Common Grace flag is flying at half-mast today because of the school shooting tragedy in Florida. It hurts so badly. We feel the grief of the families and friends of the slain students. And that lost, furious teenager with the heavy gun—all are in our prayers.
Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado was the first massacre that seized my attention. That was in 1999. How many horrific events have we endured since then? There have been 18 school shootings so far in the six weeks of 2018. None yet in Hawaii but, realistically, we must admit the grim possibility. Lonely kids become angry teenagers and our island community is not immune.
What can we do? We do what we can. Common Grace and YouthGrace have blessed over 2,500 elementary school children since our beginnings in 2003. I wish it were 25,000! We can’t offer a caring Aunty or Uncle to very many neglected kids but we can love some. I’m quite sure there is way less likelihood of one of our CG kids terrorizing a campus. They are the lucky ones...no, the blessed ones...who receive the life-changing gift of Somebody-Who-Cares.
I remember one time a grandmother called me on the phone to tell me about her grandson, a boy I had mentored in 3rd and 4th grades. He was a rugged kid with leadership potential and he was being recruited by two different gangs that were plaguing his housing area. She asked him, “So, you going join one gang o’ wat?” He replied, “Oh no, Gramma. Uncle Jay not going be proud of me if I go join one gang.” She told me she just had to call me up to tell me how she worried about her grandson and how happy she was that he had a friend like me.
Whew! Just typing this memory gets me a little bit choked up. That boy, now a Junior at a local high school and a steady member of his church’s youth group has his grandmother and a mentor who still love him, (and check in on him from time to time), but who could the pitiful young shooter in Florida ever trust or follow? He might not have known a single person who cared if he lived or died?
Every sociological study proves that the single most important element in a child’s healthy development is a relationship with an attentive, encouraging adult. It’s our stock in trade.
Our method is friendship with children who need us most.
Our secret is kindness and compassion.
Our product is a young person who knows he/she’s been listened to and loved.
Thank you for your prayers, support and personal involvement with CG.
May God truly bless you!
From our hearts to yours,
the Common Grace Staff: Jay, Aries Leighna and
the Common Grace Board: Brady, Jenny, Nancy, Padre, Ray, Ron, Suzie, Tom and Vehia (CG Board)