A Father’s Day Message from Emilie’s Father, Robbie Parker
Sometimes as a father of school aged children I feel like I spend a lot of my time on the sidelines. Whether that is cheering them on at a sporting event, nervously watching them in a recital, or complimenting them about a school project I didn’t know was due last Friday.
I often wonder: Do my children know how much I care about them? And, what else can I do to be more involved in their lives? And how can I keep them safe when I am not present?
Of course these questions are natural for fathers. We, like our counterparts, are required to sacrifice so much for the overall benefit of our children. As a parent –a father–there is nothing more important than the well-being and safety of our family.
After my oldest daughter, Emilie, was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school, my wife Alissa and other grieving mothers from Sandy Hook met to support one another. As their relationships grew, so did their focus: ensuring the safety of children in school. The women started Safe and Sound Schools. I am so impressed with what they have accomplished.
Like many of the other fathers, I supported them–from the sidelines. That was until I realized that this is a game I can join. This is a game I need to join.
Our children spend about the same amount of time at school each week as we parents do at work. As fathers, our responsibility to ensure our children’s safety and well-being goes beyond the walls of our own home.
As I have met with teachers, administrators, safety and security experts, I have found a group of people who genuinely care about my children’s safety as much as I do. Together we have recognized problems and found solutions that have benefited thousands of children.
If you want to know how to be more involved in your child’s life, in their safety, explore the Safe and Sound School site to access free resources. Get involved, your children will benefit from your love and hard work…whether they know it or not.
Robbie Parker is husband to Alissa and father of Emilie, Madeline and Samantha. Robbie, is a Neonatal Physician’s Assistant, a contributor to Safe and Sound Schools and co-founder of the Emilie Parker Art Connection, founded in honor of Emilie’s love of art.
Robbie, your strength and courage are amazing. I can’t imagine the hole loosing a child leaves in your heart. My oldest son just finished his kindergarten year. One day, he told me they were doing disaster drills. They did the typical earthquake and fire drills. Then I got a lump in my throat when he was telling me about the third drill, ‘hide and stay silent.’ We never had to do a drill like that when I was in school. It breaks my heart. Thank you for all you are doing to keep our children safe!
Thank you, Amber, for sharing your story. It’s hard for all of us to believe that we are teaching students these drills. This is why we work so hard to make sure that school safety is top priority for all schools and communities. We want everyone to be informed so they can prepare and talk to their children/students about safety. By working together, we can keep our students and schools safe and sound.