2010-06-04 / Letters

What A Mom Might Say

This letter was written to a fictional child by the president of Mothers Against Guns in response to a rise in gun and drug violence in the local area.

My Dear Child,

A news reporter called me earlier today, and asked my thoughts about the violence that is happening in our communities. Though I’ve often thought about it and expressed my opinion to others, I felt it necessary to sit and write this letter to you because I don’t want to lose you.

Perhaps, I didn’t say, “I love you” enough when you were younger, but my heart always said it for me. The day you were born was a joyful day, yet there was sadness also. Joyful because a new life came into the world, and I became a proud parent - you were mine. Sadness, because I did not know if I was ready or knew how to be a good parent, and because I didn’t know what this world would offer you. I thank God everyday for the family, friends, co-workers, teachers and ministers that were there for us when I didn’t know what to do or where to turn.

My child, though I may not be here with you now, but if I am still in your life, I want you to know that life throws many curves at us and we must use all our strength to stay on the right course. There are many decisions that you will have to make in your life and since I have faith in you, I know you will make the right one. Your so-called buddies, friends and even family members may try and persuade you to do what is wrong, and that is the time when you must dig deep within yourself and find the strength to say no and walk away.

My dear Child, saying no doesn’t mean you are weak or a coward, it only makes you stronger and committed to your individuality. Sweetheart, only say yes when you know it is the right thing to do, not because others tell you it’s the right thing to do. This is your life, and no one can live it for you. We all make mistakes, but remember that mistakes are to be corrected, not repeated. I know it’s not easy when there is a lot of pressure to do wrong, but you must realize that when you make bad decisions, they can follow you the rest of your life.

Yesterday, a friend told me how her children had broken her heart, and because of this she no longer wants to live. One child was a drug addict, another was a gang member and another had shot his best friend to death. My child, when she told me this, my heart almost stopped because everyday I hear similar stories from others. My child, maybe you can tell us what we can do to stop these horrible things that our youth are doing. Please tell me why our babies, our young men and women are destroying themselves and others with drugs, gangs and guns. What can I do to help you stop this?

I realize times have changed since I was a child, but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that my child could ever intentionally harm themselves through drug use, gang initiation or any violent act. All life is precious, and to see and read about the crimes that our young people are committing brings tears to my eyes. Little children are being molested, raped and shot to death. There are shootings in the schools, workplaces, parks, and places of worship and even in our own homes. I try so hard to protect you from these violent at-tacks, but they always seem to find us wherever we go.

Honey, I see the drugs, the gangs and acts of gun violence happening right here in our neighborhood and though I’ve thought about moving, I know deep down that running won’t make a difference. I’m tired of running, and I’m tired of seeing our youth not living to a ripe old age rearing their own children, and enjoying their grandchildren. I have five beautiful grandchildren, but where are their parents? I’m tired of seeing my daughters and sons on the street corners, robbing and stealing from their own families and others. I’m tired of seeing my sons and daughters spaced out from the effects of drugs. I’m tired of hearing other people’s stories about how their children are incarcerated for committing horrible crimes, or worse: dead and buried! I’m sick and tired of attending funerals of our babies and others because someone decided to shoot a gun to get even with no regard for life - theirs, or anyone else.

My dear one, I don’t want to lose you. I want the best that life can offer you and I pray that if you are involved with drugs, gangs or violence that you will stop and listen to that inner voice

Letters (from me) that says lovingly to you - “enough is enough.” My child, I want to see you become a productive member of our society and not a casualty from drugs, gangs and violence. My dear, I have seen too many family members, and friends bury their child because of this nonsense. I want to see you give yourself a “second chance” at life. You can do it, and I will do all that I can to help you. It’s never too late to turn your life around, and it’s never too late to ask for help.

Please my child, let me help you. This may be one of the toughest decisions that you’ll ever make in your life, but please make the right one. Let’s start now (together) with a new lease on life without drugs, gangs and violence so that those young and precious lives entering into society will be able to have the life they so much deserve - without drugs, gangs or violence.

LIZ BISHOP-GOLDSMITH

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