It’s every parent's nightmare. An emergency lockdown at your child’s school.
In this case, according to USA TODAY, Shelly Harrison Reed, had two children at the Wilmington-area Odyssey Charter School on February 7. She knew something was wrong when she started seeing a flurry of Facebook postings from the Facebook page for parents of her children’s school. The school was on lockdown as the result of a bomb threat. 1
Police arrived in a matter of minutes and every square inch of the school property was searched before it was determined there was no bomb and everyone was safe. Ironically, after the police left, class resumed and the children went on with their school day.
According to TODAY, when Shelly picked up her son, Sean and daughter, Vanessa from the school bus stop that afternoon, she asked them about the lockdown. Though both had participated in drills before this was their first “official” lockdown. At the time, neither child seemed upset. They’d been in different buildings, and each told their mom how the lockdown went in their particular classroom. 2
It wasn’t until later Shelly noticed her daughter’s arm. She had written something in purple marker all over her left arm. When Shelly asked her why she had written all over her arm, she looked closer and noticed it said, “Love Mom and Dad.” Her daughter said, “I did that in case the bad guy got to us and I got killed, you and daddy would know that I love you.” 2
Mrs. Reed said, “It felt like a punch in the gut. I didn’t have words. I hugged her and squeezed her probably harder than I ever have and I tried to reassure her that she’s safe.” 3
We need to make sure JESUS never has to ask.
Later that evening when Mrs. Reed’s husband, Jeff came home, he noticed his daughter’s arm and assumed she’d been playing around with markers with her friends. He jokingly asked what she’d done to her arm. Vanessa burst into tears and gave him a giant hug.
Two more things you need to know. They tried to wash the purple marker off Vanessa’s arm, but Vanessa wouldn’t let them. She’s even written over it with a different marker. Her dad said, “If that offers her comfort, we won’t object.” 4
Vanessa is seven years old.
In John 21, JESUS asked Peter THREE TIMES, “Do you love ME?” Why did He ask Peter that question? Because Peter had gone back to his old way of life – fishing, instead of remaining faithful to JESUS and fishing for men.
No matter who you are or how old you are, we need to make sure JESUS never has to ask. You don’t need a purple marker. A faithful, consistent life will do just fine.
© 2019. Barry L. Cameron
1 TodayShow. “Second Grader Wrote Emotional Goodbye on Arm during Lockdown.” TODAY.com, TODAY, www.today.com/parents/girl-7-writes-message-parents-arm-during-lockdown-t148902.
2 Goss, Scott. “During a School Lockdown, 7-Year-Old Writes Note on Her Arm in Case She Dies.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 15 Feb. 2019, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/02/15/viral-photo-during-school-lockdown-student-writes-death-note-on-arm/2880566002/.
3 TodayShow. “Second Grader Wrote Emotional Goodbye on Arm during Lockdown.” TODAY.com, TODAY, www.today.com/parents/girl-7-writes-message-parents-arm-during-lockdown-t148902.
4 Solé, Elise. “Girl, 7, Writes Heartbreaking Note to Parents on Arm during School Lockdown 'in Case the Bad Guy Got to Us'.” Yahoo! News, Yahoo!, 14 Feb. 2019, www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/girl-7-writes-heartbreaking-note-parents-arm-school-lockdown-case-bad-guy-got-us-185156785.html.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.