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Mark your calendars! On Saturday, Nov. 9, at Old High Middle School, just off the Bentonville Square, there will be a fun-filled celebration for the beginning of the school district's enrichment curriculum piece, "Choose Love." This daily, grade-specific enrichment will be used in every classroom in the district. It can be used in every student's family, and by everyone living in Northwest Arkansas. Curious? Download and read it and then start using it in your home, business, book club, Sunday School class, civic groups, or wherever two or three are gathered. It's free.

The genesis of the "Choose Love" movement began on a cold December morning in Newtown, Conn. A young man got out of bed, dressed, retrieved a semi-automatic weapon and ammunition, shot his mother to death, and then got in his car and went to Sandy Hook Elementary School.

At the same time, J.T. and his younger brother Jesse were rushing out the door on their way to school. Jesse paused and wrote with his finger through the frost on a window of his mom's car, "I love you."

Thirty minutes later the gunman had killed 20 children, 6 adults, and himself. At one point the gunman paused to reload his weapon and Jesse screamed to his classmates to "run" and they did, and then Jesse was killed. Nine classmates survived by listening to Jesse.

Several years later Jesse's mother, Scarlett Lewis, gave to America and the world the mission "To Choose Love" and the tools that can transform each child and adult.

She wrote, "Even though we can't always choose what happens to us, we can always choose how we respond. We can learn to respond with love. Children can learn to choose a loving thought over an angry one. When children realize that they have the power to positively impact themselves as well as those around them, it is empowering and perpetuates their positive actions and interactions." The cornerstones of the Choose Love initiative are Courage, Gratitude, Forgiveness, Compassion in Action.

Mental health professionals have called "Choose Love" the most proactive and preventable mental health initiative available in the last 30 years. It has been used in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and abroad. Over 1.6 million children have experienced this empowering enrichment.

I have been blessed to be a part of the Choose Love Event Committee. Thirty leaders from our community have met once a week for several months. We have had conversations with Scarlett and a member of her family. She will be speaking on the morning of Nov. 9, at Old High Middle School.

This will be a historic event for Northwest Arkansas. Download the enrichment. Talk to a teacher in the district. They all heard her speak at their preschool in-service. Bring the whole family. There will be time to come to the event and later travel to the Razorback football game.

Any transformation begins with courage and our school district has it. Come and see how we can choose love.

Religion on 11/06/2019

Print Headline: Choose Love

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