Monday, June 16, 2014

Hope of the Class of 2014: Moving on from the Reynolds High Shooting

As I prepare to release the upcoming posts about our overseas trips, hiking, and climbing, I have a couple of personal blog "shares":

  1. My loving wife Kathy wrote a touching Father's Day tribute to me yesterday on her own blog, "The Hamilton 4."  I finally had a chance to read it today, and it's one of the sweetest things anyone has ever written for me!  The link is here: "Our Daddy."
  2.  In light of the Reynolds High School shooting on Tuesday, I rewrote last week's sendoff to our Class of 2014 students.  My blurry, embarrassingly bad graduation ceremony pics have been removed.  I copied the words from my other blog and have shared them below:

Tuesday's school shooting at Reynold's High School hit close to home for us in the Portland metro area.  Many of my friends either attended school there or live nearby.  On the heels of the recent shooting at Seattle Pacific University, it was a stark reminder that horrible things like this can happen here in the Pacific Northwest as easily as they can anywhere else in the country.

Reflecting back on my controversial (and subsequently banished to my private blog) blog post on the Newtown school shooting 2 1/2 years ago, it seems my reaction this week has been less spiritually raw but no less distraught.  This time around, I don't feel compelled to be as shockingly candid here about my prayer life in response to tragedy.  But I will say that my prayers are being poured out for the friends and family of shooting victim Emilio Hoffman.  And we can all hope that some good will result from the past week's national discussions about reducing gun violence, the treatment of mental health disorders, and the positive impact that stable marriages and families can have on children.

As with recent tragedies, it is unfortunate that the news media fixates on and publicizes the killer.  Fame has not been implied as a motive for the suspected shooter, who presumably swiped weapons from his single father's collection but was also "highly regarded for his spirituality" by an elder in his Mormon church.  And yet, after being exposed to media coverage of the 74 school shootings which have occurred in this nation since Sandy Hook, it's not a stretch to assume that a would-be shooter may have at least considered the infamous legacy that he or she may leave behind.

But most of us know that horrendous acts should not establish a legacy.  And I applaud media outlets who choose to highlight the personal triumphs and accomplishments of our world's young people.

The legacy which many of us hope to leave behind, in addition to our accomplishments, is to be remembered for our kindness, our character, our ethics, and how well we love and serve others.  These may not be the legacies that make us famous, but they are what matter most.
[Continued below]

Greenhills 09
Photo credit: Werwin15 on Flickr

The hope of the Class of 2014 is that the future is wide open for them!  Infamous acts by others or even our own personal failures in the past do not overshadow the good that we can accomplish in the future.

As a Christ follower, I believe that God will lovingly and wisely direct those who seek Him.  But even if your beliefs differ from mine, we can still agree that this year's graduates have admirably demonstrated their drive to succeed in this world.  And that's something to celebrate!

For the young people in our lives and student ministry who have graduated this month, Kathy and I are so proud of you:

Congratulations to Anna D, Brett C, Eleanor B, Tamarra B, Whittney M,

and the rest of the Class of 2014!!

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