Summary: With the tragedies surrounding our youth today we must ask the question -- "Is there any hope for our kids?"

"Is There Any Hope For Our Kids?"

The past two weeks have been a tragic time of upheaval, uncertainty, and

insanity in the lives of our young people. When the news came forth about

the shooting in Littleton, Colorado we were all stunned by the news of two

students carrying out their plan of unleashing death and destruction upon

their fellow classmates and a teacher. We have been overwhelmed by the

pictures and video that we have seen on television and in newspapers. We

are amazed that these boys, so young, could coldly calculate a plan and then

execute it in such a devastating manner. We are horrified when we found out

that the killers chose their victims because they were athletes, one young

man because he was black, and others because they believed in God. More

than one person asked out loud, "How could such monsters exist in a

civilized society?"

The killing in Littleton sparked arrests around the country as other young

people leaked their plans for carrying out their anger and hatred upon their

school. On the day of the shooting a young fifteen-year-old boy at Sante Fe

High School in Edmond was arrested for having a "hit list." My son attends

that school and it brought the tragedy in Littleton too close to home. The

next morning our family held hands in a circle before our kids left for

school and prayed for God to build hedge of protection around them.

On Friday of last week, Memorial High School in Edmond couldn't hold class

until noon because of a bomb threat that kept the kids out of school. This

past week a young man was arrested at Putnam City High School for planning

an attack on his school. Authorities found the materials for a pipe bomb in

his home. Then, on Wednesday, a young man in Alberta, Canada stormed into

his school in a blue trench coat carrying a gun. When the attack was over

another student lay dead in the halls of learning while another was wounded.

Along with these incidents, on Tuesday of this past week Ray and I spent

time with students from John Marshall High School who were grieving the loss

of a friend who took his life on Friday night. The room was overflowing

with grief and loss, regret and remorse, and the questions of "Why?" I told

the kids that I didn't come to solve their problems or to give them answers,

but I wanted to visit with them because my heart has been broken by the loss

of friends who died at their own hand as well. What Ray and I tried to do

was to let the kids talk - to share their good memories of their friend,

their sorrow over his loss, and what would they would do different if they

had it to do over again. I wish you could have been there as God moved in a

powerful way.

All of these events that have unfolded in the past couple of weeks, and

other heartaches having to be dealt with by kids that I've spent time with

this past week have prompted me to take time this morning to speak to the

young people among us. I am so sorry that you have to deal with such

uncertainty and sorrow on a daily basis. Things were different when I was

your age.

We live in a very different day today in America than we did twenty years

ago when I was a senior in high school. All of the lines of right and wrong

seem to have been blurred. You, as young people, have been left alone to

make up your own rules and to suffer the consequences of ill-informed

decisions brought about by your lack of experience at life. My apology is

offered to you in part because you have been left in the dark due to the

failure of many adults like myself. It was not students who took the Ten

Commandments down from the wall in your school. It wasn't students who

implemented the teaching of "situational ethics" in your school. It wasn't

students who bombarded our society with the teaching that at as long as

something is right for you then it is okay for you to do it. It wasn't

students who opened the gates on sexual promiscuity. We, the adults of this

land, have failed you miserably and I am so sorry.

Because of our failure you are living in the midst of chaos and things are

very different, diabolically different than they were when I was young. For

those adults who think I am off-base, let me give you a dose of reality.

The National Center for Victims of Crime reports,

During 1996-97, about 4,000 incidents of rape or other types of sexual

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