A tragic shooting happened this week at a high school just 23 miles from my home in Fort Lauderdale, FL. No, it doesn’t make sense. Mass shootings like this or any acts of violence for that matter never do and never will. They leave us feeling a wide range of emotions like fear, anger, hatred, sadness, and helplessness. Yes, we need to allow ourselves to feel any and all of them as they come up. And then what?

When things like this happen, trying to find blame or make sense of it will not benefit anyone. But there is something you can do…choose love. If you haven’t heard of it, I’d like to introduce you to the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation. It was created by one of my forgiveness heroes, Scarlett Lewis. Scarlett is the mother of Jesse Lewis, a young boy who lost his life in a similar school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012. I highly recommend her book Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother’s Journey of Hope and Forgiveness. Let me be clear, this is not a book about a mass shooting. The way Scarlett turned this tragedy into an inspiring story of hope and then into a foundation that is literally changing the world is nothing short of miraculous.

If you’d like to do something that will make a difference, I encourage you to make a donation large or small to the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation. This organization develops enrichment programs for schools to teach children and teachers alike the power each of us has to change our thoughts and choose a life without fear and hate. The following is from their website:

The Choose Love Enrichment ProgramTM is a free Pre-K through 12th grade social and emotional learning program that teaches educators and their students how to choose love in any circumstance and helps them become connected, resilient, and empowered individuals. These skills, tools, and attitudes have been proven through decades of scientific research to be the best way to ensure a healthy, meaningful and purpose-filled life.

If you are a teacher or in any way involved in the education system, please consider bringing this program to your school. Why wouldn’t you? It’s free! Click these links to watch a video testimonial from both a student and a teacher involved in the program. Together we can indeed make a difference one student and one school at a time. I envision a day where horrible news stories like the one we heard this week are a thing of the past.

Until next time, please join me in praying for peace to comfort those who have lost loved ones in this or any other tragedy. Let’s do our best to not let fear close our hearts and keep choosing love!

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