It’s Official!

IT’S  OFFICIAL !

Now that this blog has been going strong for over four years, and I’m writing a book, I’m taking further steps to make writing my career!

The kinds of topics I write about require the right platforms, more people groups. More importantly to me is that I factor in the transition from writing a true life tragedy to writing about concerns in our culture that are truly challenging us. A new strategy is needed in going forward, and it’s starting today!

The first couple years after Marc’s tragedy were devoted to dealing with grief, the defendants and court. I also had enormous trials in my personal life while learning the new craft of writing blogs, then a book. As the months and book progressed I found out writing a blog is my first love. I think it means so much because it’s immediate in how it’s birthed in me and is received by my audience.

Besides being a place of healing, re-birth and venting this MJ blog has been a source of community for me! If I don’t maintain a sense of community then I’d just as soon quit, I can’t live without it, many of us can’t. It’s been one way I connect to family, friends and reach more people with Marc’s msg. than I could normally do in my daily life.

                     Changes in Marcsjustice coming soon!

Many writers use their personal experiences in their work. I’d written for years, but never thought of myself as a blogger, it’s just so ‘in your face’ and I was such a private person. Never liked any chat room. But losing Marc was almost as real as if I’d been left in outer space to fend for myself. It places an enormous load on you to stay alive and speak back to the horror, grief and change going on inside …. because I can’t forget and just go on as if nothing happened, nothing changed!

So, in the coming weeks you’ll be reading some of the older posts I wrote as I was going thru grief and the murder investigation. They aren’t as long as the recent ones. Remember …. SHARING IS CARING! So SHARE this if you feel someone needs it or will benefit! Thanks!

 

The Defendants, Aftermath & Youth

I was surprised the suspects in Marc’s case were so young! I wondered what happened in their lives to make them end up homeless, and hangout in downtown Portland that October night?

As a child I once ran away, as far as the front porch. I remember how sad and cold I felt in the tiny space. But in my house there was a mom and dad, and even though my parents had some real problems, & reason to divorce, my folks stayed together for the ‘sake of the kids’. That was old fashioned sacrifice, and not too appealing nowadays, but still so important.

After Marc’s case was solved, I sought to connect with the teen defendants for a couple reasons. The main reason was to make sure they knew they were forgiven, so they could have peace in their hearts and know I didn’t hate them. Teen boys were not a mystery to me, so I guess I felt I might relate a little to them, especially as they seemed like normal enough boys, not criminal types. They took responsibility for the crime and were extremely remorseful.

I was very careful in getting to know the defendants, I knew I could be naive or idealistic. In court proceedings I found I was never fearful of them! I never felt spooked by any deranged, or evil vibes emanating from them towards me or anyone.  Of course it was a nervous, traumatic time but the court proceedings just seemed like normal people getting together for some important purpose. I identified with the prosecutor so much, the crime needed the best and most solid person to represent my son. After I got to know the type of people the boys were, I understood the defense attorneys angles.

I’m not excusing the defendants actions, the horrible crime, it still gives me great pain to think of their culpability in it all, but …. after talking with them, I see the other side. My life is not full of hate towards them, hate for the courts, police or anyone. The incident in Marc’s homicide had been a true misjudgement of behavior or personalities between strangers, just a random encounter.

Marc’s brother Paul, finding his teen identity.

After the crime I also researched about homelessness, addiction, and stuff …. I had an insatiable desire to understand the crime world, and the personal and cultural reasons the boys got caught up in a mortal crime. As I got to know them they shared some common threads in their life, which are typical for mainstream culture as well.

Recently I’ve been blessed to find authors who really care about our modern problems, and am so relieved! I shared a list of books recently in this blog. Sen. Ben Sasse shares in his book “Them: … ”  how our culture is growing away from being ‘rooted’ in traditional families & communities and instead is either becoming lost in society or wrapped up with ‘tribal’ identities.

The boys in Marc’s case are pretty typical, they were used to the values in a traditional family, but were similar & different from each other. One boy was from across the Willamette, one from New York. One knew family dysfunction & came West to find his destiny …. the other had been adopted but felt unloved at one point so started running away to live with friends. They both were genuinely hoping for good to come their way, and even shared their faith walk with me.

I watch these great true Detective shows on Justice TV network cause they are ‘real life’, not pretend, and they tell stories of crimes committed by these perverted, vile, monster types who prey on others. What a creepy, disturbing life I’d be forced to live if the defendants were sinister, deranged older criminal types who were morally lost and not remorseful or willing to be forgiven! I don’t know that I could live with that?

The lives some victims must have is unimaginable. One of my good friends was raped, & she and her 2 kids almost murdered! The offender is still in prison and up for parole soon! It was such a huge trauma for all three, they can’t even look the offender in the eye! My friend has to return to the prison and testify again in 2 weeks. I always count my blessings and know how lucky I am to come away from Marc’s case unafraid for my sanity & safety.

What I went thru is still unbearable …. if not for the justice Marc got, the support I constantly receive and my blog (Marc’s legacy). I would not be able to carry on with joy if God had not taken my focus away from Marc and I as the sole ones in pain. He needed me to look for His hand as I dealt with the defendants. I moved past the point where the case was just about Marc, or my feelings. The case was about a whole bunch of people. Even the city of Portland and beyond.

This is the way I have to live with the painful tragedy. It’s the main way we have to see the world. See the good in the life He’s given us! Understand the world doesn’t revolve around us. He has a big plan for us, no matter how hard our circumstances are!

 

 

 

 

 

Jumping Into Politics

I’ve spent some days, nights even, wondering what is going on in our country?! I used to think America was so great and complete, now I feel deep pain for her!

I’ve been an avid fan of history and politics, all my life. My college co-major. No one in my family has ever been interested in or connected with government except my oldest sister who married the son of a Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles. I was invited to dinner at her future in-laws home as a child and their family life was so gracious and orderly. They sent me home with a jar of jelly that I savored for weeks.

But, while government, or public policy, is an exciting study, politics is not always appealing. In the last couple years, especially the past 6 months, I’ve been really troubled by some people and issues in national politics! I had very favorable but limited experience with the group that worked on Marc’s case in Portland, OR. I got a great sense of trust from the court and Police Bureau. I visited some PDX City Council meetings, spoke with a couple people on Mayor Hale’s, then Wheeler’s, staff about Marc’s case, etc. I liked how everyone on staff accepted my tragedy, and how they had a fairly keen focus on their problems and got things accomplished at council mtgs. Even the TV news, major paper in Portland, The Oregonian, are not heavily biased like in Los Angeles.

Last year I joined the Twitter universe, in order to help with blog & book exposure. Only a few of my personal friends have joined that platform. When I bring up the topic of Twitter people usually say, ‘I don’t have time for it’, ‘it’s too scary’, or they make a frowny face. I went thru several phases with Twitter, and finally found how I fit in with it. I’d read articles on how it was ruining communication among people, making the world a terrible place and while there’s something to that debate, if harnessed, it can be a great tool for a person. 

I’ve seen how horrid it can be but, it’s also a great meeting place for all kinds of people you’d never have time to meet up with in your own neighborhood or life. Sometimes I just want to share everyday stuff with people …. it’s in Twitter. Sometimes I just want to get immediate news updates from people or sources I trust …. it’s on Twitter. Sometimes in depth accounts from experts … I can find it there. And when you find the subjects that you’re really interested in and get educated, it’s great to comment with people in public life, as some will actually ‘like’ or comment back.

Portland City Council Mtg –

Surprisingly, Twitter has helped remove the ‘blinders’ from my mind, helped wake me from my deep slumber as a citizen. It’s helped me flat out see with my own eyes how jaded on life many are. Some are like wolves tearing people down just for differing with their views. The filthy words, the hatred for males, whites, police, leaders, Jews or Christian’s  …. is reprehensible! It’s one thing to hear a myth from others about a platform, it’s another to discover for yourself a bottomless pit of depravity. So, I stay clear of their threads, and found my happy road.

I don’t slam people on threads cause I know some are hurt and confused and trying to find truth, you can’t always tell on the outside. But there are some, I believe, who are truly mean or evil. I can’t repeat things on this blog. The only way I could wade these waters is cause I know my solid beliefs in our form of government can’t be shaken. And I’m not that offended anymore since I’ve been so deeply offended by having a child murdered.

I’ve been polling friends and almost all don’t like the news! It just boggles my mind, There’s rapid changes going on in our culture and not to keep aware of them is scary to me. There’s rhetoric recently among a few in our national government where people want to make the U.S. a socialist nation, there are Democratic Presidential candidates spouting these sentiments. I never thought I’d hear the term socialist so loudly promoted in our country! Unbelievable!

So, what’s going to happen to our country? The people who want to steal our country’s character want us to stay afraid. They want us to be so busy with our lives, things, worries so we won’t vote. They want to slip into our politics without confrontation. I used to think there were too many good people to ever let this happen. I used to think God wouldn’t allow it or something. But I’ve discovered that while there are many good people in the foundation of our everyday life, there is a growing group of people in the federal govt. who plan on us being afraid and ‘quiet’! 

I started thinking the other day, maybe I’m wrong about some of my friends, maybe they wouldn’t think being socialist is so bad? Probably many have never entertained the thought we could have a change of government. Possibly a few don’t care about our form of govt, or economic system? People sometimes are so numb from life issues, they don’t think they are part of a whole, part of a population that has traditionally wanted to thrive? I truly understand that some are used to the ‘same ol’ life, thinking it will go on forever.

Politics may seem like too much trouble, but you owe it to yourself to get educated so you vote with understanding of the character behind the issues, the purpose behind the proposals. Yes, politics nowadays has some conflict but you can arm yourself with facts if you wish to stay involved. Buddy up with someone close if necessary and dive in, to protect yours and my freedoms.

 

Happy Easter & Notre Dame

Millions around the globe were stunned & saddened this past week when the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris was gutted by a raging fire, !  It was certainly more than just some typical church on fire, and it was quite noticeable to most that this pillar of our civilization caught on fire during the most holy week in church history!

I couldn’t believe the live feed on TV! Of course, in this day and age you wonder if the fire started due to terrorism, a homeless person’s accidental campfire or the Muslim encampments in central Paris? I’ve been following the recent ‘Yellow Coat’ protests for several months in Paris, those folks are basically regular working people, church people, not violent types. The fire was not started on a weekend when they gather.

The church was designed and constructed in midieval ages (1100’s – 1200’s) when the populace wasn’t educated. Hierarchy built it thinking the ignorant public should learn the story of the Bible thru statuary, hence all the carvings, hideous gargoyles.

Rich Lowry said it well the other day, ‘Notre Dame stands for so many qualities that we now lack — patience and staying power, the cultivation of beauty, a deep ­religious faith, a cultural confidence and ambition that could create a timeless monument of our civilization — that the collapse of its spire was almost too much to bear.’
Yes, it was to me almost unbearable. It was a beacon of national identity thru world wars. Napoleon was crowned there, De Gaulle celebrated the end of the WWII there. Plagues and monarchs couldn’t destroy it. “It was the work of generations, completed over the course of 300 years, in a triumph over considerable architectural and logistical challenges,” Lowry said. The cathedral witnessed “countless processions and services to petition and thank God on behalf of the French nation.  It was where illustrious marriages occurred, where Napoleon crowned himself emperor, where Charles de Gaulle attended a Mass to celebrate the liberation of Paris in 1944, rifle fire echoing outside.”
“It arose at the original site of a pagan temple. Thousands of tons of stone had to be transported from outside Paris for it, one ox cart or barge at a time. To achieve its soaring height and hold up its ceiling and walls, it relied on the innovative use of the rib vault and flying buttress.  France built 80 cathedrals and 500 large churches across this period, but there was only one Notre Dame of Paris, a Gothic jewel whose towers, prior to the advent of the Eiffel Tower, were the tallest structure in Paris.”
“Notre Dame has been thoughtfully restored and preserved over the years, to our credit. But it’s difficult not to discern a distressing message in the wanton destruction that ravaged the iconic cathedral — what prior generations so carefully and faithfully built, we are losing.”
Rich Lowry is the editor of National ­Review.
I’m not the type that worships physical buildings but this is a case where a faith, a national identity and art came together to typify a people. I’ve studied Western civilization and Europe went thru cataclysmic growth of thought, struggles and rebirths in the neighborhoods surrounding that cathedral. Peasants visited it as well as Presidents, artists as well as the faithful. People would look to that place as a way to describe the heart of a city. The Eiffel Tower is not in the same category. It is not a Protestant church like I’m used to, but when you study history and read what that part of the globe went thru down thru the centuries, those kinds of buildings have important significance, even now. Especially since many nowadays are disparaging faith, national identity.
Life is mysterious, we like and need mystery but we can’t always pinpoint what it is and where to find it. We can say if someone goes to college they’ll be more apt to get a good job, but that’s not a mystery. That can actually dampen mystery, when you have things all figured out. Notre Dame was such a place of mysterious faith, beauty and reality all in one structure.
Life’s true mystery is evident in the moments between jobs and money.  It’s the life we spend with family and friends, the manner we strive to achieve our dreams, the way we honor others in the world thru our life in God! This fire just reminded me of the strong yet fragile ways our national identities are constructed and that we have to preserve the dignity and trust of the faithful at all costs!

                                                                    HAPPY EASTER AND PASSOVER!

Chapter One …… Exerpts

Below are the first few paragraphs from Chapter One, where I give readers a little view of Portland and Marc’s life.

Been thinking of Marc alot of late, as I share parts of my book with different people. I feel him close by and know he’s joining me to get our story out –

                                                   Chapter One

                                                    Little Bit Of Heaven

                                   “Sawbonna”      Zulu word for ‘I see you’

The Pacific Northwest had always seemed so dreary a place to live most of the year, but when I looked out over the city of Portland, I was surprised at how it’s natural beauty dazzled my eyes.  The tall buildings downtown made a stunning statement against the October sunset. The evening lights signaled the city was winding down, its daylight bath of sun fading. Twinkling lights lit up the tree lined avenues and Portland’s many park areas. From my vantage point I could see the bridges on the wide Willamette River joining the people of SW PDX with those in the South East.  Life below seemed to flow perfectly.

How many people have walked Portland city floors in the last 200 years since the West Coast was brought into mainland America by the Louisiana Purchase? How many were born since that time with sky high hopes and dreams?  People in every age had lived life just as my son Marc and I were, working on our destiny …. meeting up to share a celebration.

I’d visited Portland before, but never viewed it from this angle. There’s something breathtaking about seeing a special town or landscape from so high up, like when you’re flying to a vacation spot and look down at the human specks below, the mountains or beaches gleaming beyond. It makes you feel small, but then it can make you feel powerful.

As I watched the mass of people below driving home for the day or meeting friends for dinner, I felt a connection to them ….  like life can seem grand when you’re with someone you love or care about. It’s like love can make your everyday problems seem so small. Then I caught myself and remembered, ‘there’s people down on that city floor who’re suffering in some way’, life isn’t always as rosy as we think on the other side …. and I felt for them.

I was in this city again as Marc had just completed a nine month course at Oregon Culinary Institute and was graduating the next day. There was a lot of relief on his side as the course had been as intense as any professional institute with a high standing could be. He was double excited as he landed a modest starting position working only four blocks from home. The peace in his life was palpable, I was so grateful for how things were coming together like he dreamed they would.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Hope you got a glimpse of the city of Portland, little of Marc and the books scope.

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Preface to Book and a Comment

In the coming weeks I’m going to release some snippets of my book so you get an idea of the scope and tone, which is different from this blog here. The following is the Preface from my book. A Preface shares with potential readers how the book came about and why they should buy the book. You guys know Marc’s and my story, this Preface is for Mr & Mrs Joe Public when the book is being marketed on Amazon, etc.

I’m always open to your impressions!

PREFACE –  “Murder and Justice in Portland”  by Diane De Han

“This book’s been written with you in mind. You’re an individual who’s always trying to sort through some of the messy issues of life. Most people won’t initiate a conversation about a homicide investigation, but you’re reading this, so you’re different.

You know the idea of you or a loved one being murdered is the most catastrophic thing you could ever imagine happening! It makes you sad or your blood run cold just my bringing this up. So, your curiosity about this book is an honest reaction to one of our common fears.

This conversation regarding murder is an important one as we’re going thru a new ‘normal’ in the world.  It used to be everyone had nightmares about being attacked by ‘Jaws’, now people lie awake at night and wonder what they’d do if a mass shooter opened up at a school or mall!

I wrote this book to expand the story in my blog  marcsjustice.com, which I started soon after my son Marc was murdered in Portland, OR in October 2014. Immediately after the tragic incident I was forced to deal not only with my son’s homicide case but make important decisions about a couple life and death issues of my own.

I’m going to share with you a parent’s worst nightmare, but it won’t be a journey into the gory details of a murder case, I still can’t bear to go into that side of things. If you want a book that scares you then check out a Hollywood thriller or a true detective TV show. Although this book is a very personal journey I’m not going to bore you with sentimental trivia that won’t be useful to the theme. Rather, I think folks are more interested in how a murder case transpires and how people deal with the big questions of the presence of evil in life, and how does one manage the pain and loss of a loved one’?

We’re not being encouraged to think for ourselves much nowadays but we’re born with a conscience inside us that says the opposite …. it knows what’s real, what’s right, it can guide us in our affairs far better than a news source can. It’s there to steer us on the right path as well as guide us out of our suffering …. if we listen.

This book recognizes that we live in a society where the overwhelming message from media suggests that life is impersonal and nothing lasts. I’ve tried to take the concepts of love, pain, justice and healing that I learned out of our cultures hands and give them back into the hands of individuals like you who have a strong conscience and a desire to find God’s hand in all our circumstances.”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Well, looks like the book title is ‘kaput’!

Last night after I commented on a tweet I was ‘blocked’ from commenting or liking anyone further! The only reason I came up with is that I used the word ‘murder’ that’s used in my book title when I commented to George Papadopoulos about my book. I shared how I was reading his new book, “Deep State Target”, and how it had inspired me in a particular chapter.

I hardly ever use this title on social media, but I think the algorhythms picked up the word ‘murder’ and didn’t like it, even tho I wasn’t threatening anyone. Think I’ll change the title since Twitter, and probably FB, will be touchy.

I’m such a free speech advocate, and don’t want to be forced to change to be politically correct. But, it’s a technical issue with them I guess, as they have so many users, that’s one way they can filter out the really dangerous people.

I’ve got another title in mind with some of the same connotations, as I don’t want to forget the horrendous loss that night in Portland!

 

My New Book & Some Good Info

I’m sorta in ‘hiding’ as I finish my book.

I’m moving away from the shocking side of Marc’s incident and building the story around ‘relationships’! If we live according to this world, we’re supposed to be a loner where everyone works out their own path, own answers …. but the way it works best is when we surrender to both God’s order of things and decipher rightly about those He places in our lives.

My book will be for society in general. I feel people aren’t trusting their own conscience much anymore, this is the prime way God speaks to us, according to Ken E. Hagin. I’m not writing to show people how much I ‘know’ about God but I want to share how He sustains us in this modern age! He gives us our private ‘radar’ to help us in this age of confusion and needing to be politically right.

Downtown Portland, OR MAX rail track

On another issue ….. I’ve been going thru alot of questioning and anguish in the last 2 years about our country! Marc and I cared so much about many of the challenges in our nation, so it’s been normal to share about politics and cultural themes at times in this blog.  I mean, as Christian’s we live in a world of government, economics/jobs, and a natural world where we’re supposed to be involved and making our world a better place to live.

We’re so blessed in the U.S., the West but there are threats blocking our freedom to speak out, to feel safe, to live openly. Too many people outside our life are trying to make important decisions for us. Some of the traditional formats for discussing life as a nation are being dried up ….. authentic political debates, great books, good theatre, innovative music that expresses adult views or TV shows with real family drama.

Sometimes I’ve literally asked myself ‘am I the only one feeling so torn by what’s going on around me”? And of course, I know I’m not alone as there are many who’re concerned about the way things are being handled in their work life, home life, health, our political scenes.

I recently broke down and joined Kindle and oh, my, it’s opened up a whole variety of writers who’re in sync with my hunches and observations. I knew of futurist writers like George Orwell, Huxley, & C. S. Lewis foreboding doom in some areas of our Western Culture but I didn’t know many in America who’re looking at our world with eyes wide open?

Anyway, here’s a sample of the books on our cultural issues. There’s a whole world out there that I wish many more knew of, there’s people writing books who’re trying to help us cut thru the confusion. When we know more, we can arm ourselves and take action. Some of these books are historically based, some on family, some on our identity as human beings, some on the political world:

“The Vanishing American Adult’   –  Sen. Ben Sasse

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crises”   –    NYT Best selling author,  Robert Putnam

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of American Elite Life etc… ”  –   William Deresiewicz

‘Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride’     –   Major Garrett

“The Tech Wise Family’   –   Andy Crouch

Coming Apart’   Challenges of White Society in U.S.    –     Charles Murray

 “Our Lost Constitution”   –  Sen. Mike Lee

Amusing Ourselves To Death”   –  Neil Postman

Dumbing Us Down: Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling’   –   John Taylor Gatto

There are so many more books, as well as groups, speakers, or people on TV sharing how our world is changing and what we can do about it. I wish more Congressional leaders were reading about some of these issues and sharing their views. We need to know where their hearts are.

Will share more books in the future …..

It Never Stops, My Son

Sometimes on this journey with Marc’s legacy it seems the road stops, the brick wall goes up and life seems to come to a grinding halt. I can’t see past the wall, the sense of vision I had seems to evaporate! A dread feeling enters ….. it says, ‘There’s nothing else! That’s all there is to Marc’s legacy. You lost him, you’re taking this too far! Forget it.’

The ‘game’ of life –

We all have times where we question our true desires or wonder how they will pan out? We ask, ‘were they just idle hopes or something deep that has to be fulfilled’?  It’s not often but it does happen. Sometimes we just need a few new people or resources in our lives to help us know we’re on the right track.

Few weeks back I discovered a TV show I’d never seen before, “Dog, the Bounty Hunter’. Sure, I’d heard about ‘Dog’  years ago but I never knew how much his wife Beth and sons were part of their ‘family business’. I’ve been so touched at the way his family operates like a team and treat the fugitives ‘running’ from the law so well! They are downright angry with fugitives skipping court but so caring about their souls in the car drive back to jail. They even help people get jobs after they’re released. Both Dog and Beth had skirmishes with the law as youths and know the fears and anxieties of a fugitive, and how many can benefit from someone just taking an interest in them.

The show shares their family time, the honors given their work, their problems and they even pray for the people with warrants out. It’s been exciting to find more people like me who’re concerned about respect for the law but then care about particular defendants. Dog and his family hunt people down with the skill of a lawyer and detective, I’ve been very impressed.

I’m a very nerdy type half the time, so it’s been good to discover others outside of books and writing who’re there in the real world with a similar concern for others like me. I have a normal life but to some it’s weird. (There’s more in other posts on the story of the defendants in my sons case.) Meeting Dale and Sandy Russell of Visions of Hope in Oregon has been one of the best things to happen last year! They have a special connection with the prison the main defendant resides in, and have been a constant blessing on my journey!

Only in America!

I never chose this kind of life, I never expected Marc’s tragedy. I expected a good but I now know ….  safe life. But being mainly safe is not where it’s at!

It never stops, Marc, still missing you! It still seems unbelievable it happened!

A Teacher’s View of R Kids

The open letter below has haunted me for a while!

Educators see alot, we’re constantly observing! We’re also like relatives in a way …. seeking to care for, instruct and shape your children into strong kids. People expect so much of us cause in many ways there ARE no relatives at home, no tight-knit place that nurtures, shapes a child. We are your contact people with your children most of the time.

While we live in a wonderful country in many ways, this article has outlined a trend that is disturbing. I live in CA, and see the  real problems, there’s also …. a remedy!

Article by Amie Diprima Brown

“With all of the talk about guns in schools, why it’s (school violence) is happening, and how to solve the issue let me offer a little different perspective.

I’ve been teaching since 2003. This marks my 15th year in the classroom. Everybody always talks about how schools have changed, and it’s true, they have. Yes, there’s the “crazy new math” and “bring your own device” changes. However, there are some other changes that I think the general population is not aware of.

Every year for 15 years I have sent home the same assignment on the first day of school. I send a letter home asking parents to tell me about their child in a million words or less. I go on to explain that I want to learn the child’s hopes, dreams, fears, challenges, etc and jokingly ask parents to limit it to less than a million words since we all know we could talk forever about our children. I go on to say I’m not grading these, not looking at handwriting or grammar and don’t care if they send them back with their child, email them, drop them off at the office, etc.

These letters have been so beneficial to me as a teacher and getting to know my students on a personal level. I have learned about eating disorders, seizures, jealousy issues between twins, depression, adoption, abuse…just to name a few things. These letters give me a huge head start on getting to truly know my students. I often pull them out when a child has a sudden change in behavior or issue that comes up. Just this week I had 2 students lose their mother unexpectedly. Brother and sister, I taught one last year and one this year. As I have done before, i immediately went to my folders to pull the letters that mom sent for her children. It’s a beautiful gift that I feel I can give students to get a glimpse into how much a parent loved and adored them.

As I was putting the folders back in the file cabinet I noticed something. I know that the percentage of parents that complete this assignment each year has gotten lower and lower, but looking at the size of the folders shocked me. That first year I had 98% of the parents send back some type of letter on their child. This year… 22%. That’s a lot of opportunities lost for me to get to know students. Sadly, more parents have access to an electronic device that makes this task even easier and less time-consuming.

On another note, this year’s average for homework turned in is riding at 67%. I’m talking a twice monthly 5 sentence summary of what the student is reading in their own time. I remind students daily, I send text messages through Remind, it’s on my website. The only other thing I could do is do it for them. Parents continue to let their child rack up zero after zero. But then again, that average used to be around 98% as well. It was rare for more than 1-2 students to not have their homework 15 years ago. Now, it’s just frustrating.

With all of our other responsibilities in our profession, how are we supposed to get to know students so that we can identify the ones with the mentality and disposition to become a school shooter if parents are checking out of the academic process? How are we supposed to educate children when their parents don’t require, expect and demand their child complete their homework?

Don’t wait until your child is the school shooter to let us know your child is struggling mentally. Don’t wait until your child is ineligible for sports or the day before report cards to check grades and question the teacher on why your child is failing.

Be a parent. Be involved in your child’s life so that you can help them through the issues with friends, the possible suicidal thoughts, and problems academically. I promise you, if parents spent more time with their children and got involved in their lives, we would see drastic improvements in our schools and our society.

As parents, our job is to grow the most amazing humans possible. Its the most important job in the world. The education and emotional stability a parent provides is priceless.”

*     *     *     *     *

We can talk all we want about guns or mental illness. We can talk all night about what Congress or the FBI should do or how to guard the school, yes, we can do more …. but the article above focuses on what’s happening in our homes. A major key in eliminating school violence is taking control of ones own children, letting parents know they are powerful and their children will respect them.

Articles like Aime’s help me understand the defendants in Marc’s case, how they could end up in the mess they got in. I know there’s a rise in youth addiction, it’s many times a way to self medicate from pressures of not fitting in, family dysfunction. Teen depression & suicide are also rising, it’s a problem among the rich as well as poorer families.

We are facing an epidemic …. but, if parents would only arm themselves with knowledge we could weather this crises!

 

New Link to Sentencing in Marc’s Case

On June 3, 2015 the main defendant in Marc’s case was sentenced. The following video was prepared by Brent Weisberg, a reporter at KOIN6 news, (CBS affiliate, Portland, OR), and shown that evening. People have told me how much it touched their hearts to see this so I’ve tried to use it at times. Unfortunately, KOIN6 went thru several owners in the last couple years and the servers left this video out. As I was fact checking for my book I found they restored it, so here it is!

Marc and Rose –

 Just want to share the type of case we had so you can understand how I could develop a relationship with the main defendant, and see how God was involved in the whole matter. (The clip is an overview, not the entire hearing.) For info on other aspects of the case, please see the archives on my site.

Thanks so much for your continued prayers and support!  May we all go forward with both justice yet mercy in this life –

Marc’s memory is alive!

 

https://www.koin.com/archives/remorceful-marc-sundin-stabber-sentenced-to-10-years/960296092

Sentencing of Andrew Metzner