Jesse McCord Lewis was an amazing child, full of light and love that was unmistakable in his presence. He brought joy to the world with his infectious and radiant smile. He was smart and compassionate beyond his years. Jesse died bravely trying to lead other children to safety. He ran into the hallway to help when he heard the shots. In our hearts we already knew because that was the way he lived his life – fearless, full of courage and strength.
We take comfort in knowing what a brave child he was. His actions were consistent with the way he lived his life; passionately embracing everything, a perfect combination of courage and faith, like a little soldier, his favorite toy. The love we shared was abundant and all encompassing. He slept in his mother’s arms almost every night of his precious life, with her thanking God for him.
Before my 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis lost his life at Sandy Hook School on December 14, 2012, he had written a message on our kitchen chalkboard: Nurturing Healing Love. The words “nurturing” and “healing” are a part of the definition of compassion across almost all cultures. Love is the foundation on which happy and healthy lives are built.
Inspired by Jesse’s words, we formed the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation. Our mission is to create awareness in our children and our communities that we can choose love over anger, gratitude over entitlement, and forgiveness and compassion over bitterness. Our goal is to create a more peaceful and loving world through planting these seeds of wisdom. We are currently developing a compassion- and wisdom-based curriculum to introduce into our schools and communities – inspirational and educational programs that will incorporate this empowering message and also highlight unforgettable stories of young people (including genocide survivors) who have overcome extreme hardship through choosing love over anger.
We believe that teaching our kids how to effectively deal with anger is crucial to a healthy society. Feelings of victimization and anger lead to self destructive and, sometimes, outwardly destructive behaviors. Our formal education system focuses on preparing children for college and careers but falls short in teaching children strategies for living happy and peaceful lives. Many people are never taught the simple and basic, yet extremely powerful, lesson that we all have responsibility for, and control over, our own thoughts and actions. We will teach kids that anger is a choice, and that it benefits them and all those around them to choose another way. If all of our actions are motivated by love and compassion for others – if we all live by The Golden Rule – the world will change for the better.
The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation is dedicated to working with any group or person who shares our goals, and the Board is dedicated to maximizing every investment in this partnership to further the mission of the Foundation.
Students and Educators of South Kingston High School come together to CHOOSE LOVE and be part of the solution!
Location: Darien, CT, USA