According to the National Education Association's website, schools "continue to be one of the most secure places for our children," statistically speaking. But the NEA's "Safe Schools Program" for communities and schools shows that it isn't ignoring conditions that can lead to violence. It aims, among other things, to reduce bullying, provide resources for counseling and anger-management, increase communication among parents, teachers, and students, and introduce programs that teach values.
At a community fair a few weeks ago, I saw evidence of those values as I watched parents interact with their children. Whether they were waiting in line to make masks, to have their faces painted, or fly kites, the children were serious, funny, self-assured, cute, and earnest. And perhaps most precious of all was the joyful innocence that shone through even the tougher looking ones.
That experience reminded me again of the importance of praying for the safety of children and their schools. No one wants the innocence and joy of children to be marred by fear or by horrible memories. And prayer provides an effective – and what could be called a "zero-tolerance" – response to addressing children's safety.
In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "Mind, joyous in strength, dwells in the realm of Mind. Mind's infinite ideas run and disport themselves" (p. 514). That passage always makes me think of children, but it also reminds me that all of us are children of divine Mind, of infinite intelligence. I can trust that Mind will show each one what to do, even in the face of unexpected events that might be frightening or confusing. Each of us has the ability to trust our spiritual intuition and let it guide us out of harm's way.
Sometimes violent events occur so suddenly that school officials or teachers may be overcome by the situation or feel uncertain about what to do. Our prayers can affirm that they, too, are ideas of divine intelligence, and can make good decisions, even under pressure.
Recently, a major accident a few blocks from a school where the child of a friend of mine was enrolled, included elements no one could have foreseen. My friend and I were praying, and I'm sure many others who knew of the situation prayed, as well. Individuals at the school remained calm, assessed the situation, and made good choices so all the children were safe.
There are more dramatic events, such as the shootings at Virginia Tech in the US and other less known incidents involving estranged parents, drug dealers, and so on. These tragedies serve to underscore the value of diligent, consistent prayer. By recognizing that good is infinite, we effectively eliminate belief in a countering evil presence or attraction. Taking a few minutes each day to affirm that infinite Mind is present with all its intelligence and goodness can neutralize the very thought that someone could act contrary to that Mind.
The definition of good in the Glossary of Science and Health includes the word omni-action (p. 587). This makes clear that "good" is a force that can change the dynamic of any situation for the better. And because omniaction rejects the possibility of an opposing force, good's omniactivity disarms any evil actions or intentions.
If we take the time to affirm at least some of these truths, great good can be done. Jesus taught the importance of loving children. As he put it, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3). Every time we rejoice in the innocence and goodness of children and do all we can to preserve these qualities, we are affirming our own purity. And that brings us ever closer to the kingdom of heaven where goodness, harmony – and safety – reign.
Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.