No Better Trophy


Jan Morgan-Swegle, Editor

CFV-Top Gun (Jan Morgan-Swegle)

For all of my accomplishments in life, and I like to think there are more than a few, I have never won an award.  I have never been selected “the best whatever,” nor have I had the opportunity to stand in front of a group of my peers holding a trophy and saying, “I’d like to thank the academy…..”  or some version thereof.  But I learned today that I wanted something even more than that type of recognition.

As I mentioned in the last issue of Cape Fear Voices (online), my husband and I recently went to see our son and his family in Florida.  He and his wife are the kind of parents that every child should have.  Ones who teach, not criticize.  Ones who care, not hover.  And ones who are teaching their daughters the value of who they are and what they can become so they will  each have a sense of pride and self-worth as they grow up.

Our visit was fun, but short.  I took an issue of Cape Fear Voices with me, but we never got around to sharing it so I gave my daughter-in-law the CFV/TS website address in case she wanted to see my September story.  For that particular issue, I wrote a story called “Stop the Badness,” and it was inspired by an earlier visit we had with them.  So many weeks ago, as I sat and watched my two little granddaughters play and learn, I was struck by the thought that as they progressed in school, they would be taught school shooter lockdown drills and how to avoid being a direct target.  I sat there looking at these sweet little faces full of love for the entire world and laughing at the silliest things and I started to cry.  I always want them to know the good things in life, not the “badness” of guns or the horror of children murdering children.

I know that in the course of their lives, there will be things I wish they would not have experienced.  I know that sadness will touch their lives with the passing of dreams and loved ones.  But no child should carry the memory of school shooting “badnesss” into their youth or adult lives.

And so, as I was having a very mundane day, waiting for my dental appointment this morning,  my phone “hummed” with a message.   It was from our son in Florida.  It said, “I know it’s late, but I got a chance to read your articles in the CFV.  I know you always wanted to be a journalist but were never allowed to go to college.  It’s nice to see you fulfilling that dream.  Better yet, you’re also the one encouraging teaching and inspiring the younger generation to follow their writing dreams.  The world is a better place because of you.” 

There is no better trophy than that.

My journey to be a writer has been a long one.  One that parallels the journey that Gerald Decker and all of the people associated with Teen Scene and our educational system go through every day.  Like me, they want to help children learn, not worry about school shooters.

I am like most parents.  I want our children to enjoy being children, to live safe and productive lives, to have equal opportunities in education and in the working world and most of all feel safe.  I want them to do something that they love doing.  I want them to follow their passions.

And maybe one day,  one of my grandchildren will write something wonderful and maybe, just maybe, they will say, “My grandmother was a writer.”   And for that, I will be eternally happy.