The topic of our 3-mile run today in the sweltering Annapolis summer was the distinction between vigilance and craziness. My running mate and I had a heated (literally) conversation about the day camp her children attend and its laissez faire approach to structure. Is it vigilance or craziness to worry about a day camp where the young children go to the restroom unaccompanied by an adult? Is it vigilance or craziness when I’m on the playground at my granddaughter’s school scanning the open perimeters for possibly entry points of predators? Is it vigilance or craziness to tell my granddaughters’ best friend that her father should not be sending her to the park alone at the age of 8!
Meet my vigilant friends at Team Hope. Have you heard of them? Team Hope is a critical program of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) Family Advocacy Division. This is an exclusive group of over 300 volunteers. All members of Team Hope have had a missing child, and they volunteer to help parents of missing children. Whew. That sentence takes my breath away. After only one heartfelt story of a parent of a missing child, my vigilance meter goes over the top. Consider Colleen Nick. Her daughter, Morgan, was a 6-year old chasing lightning bugs at a little league baseball game in a small town in Arkansas in 1995. Sounds very safe, right? Morgan disappeared. Seventeen years later, after extensive FBI searches, constant searching by her parents, tears, desperation and hope, Morgan is still missing. Colleen is a member of Team Hope, an Active Volunteer Coordinator, and Secretary of the Board of Directors of NCMEC. While she is hurting, she is committed to helping others.
Morgan’s story is one of many that inform my instincts and make me vigilant/crazy enough to want to scream when I see parents walking through a store with children trailing several feet behind. People – have you heard of Adam Walsh?!
This year, I had the privilege of working with my Team Hope friends and lead them through developing their Personal Mission Statement. Each of them has been wounded by having a missing child. Some children have been found, and many others have not. These volunteers are also healers who help parents who are walking on the same path. Some of this group of “wounded healers” shared their Mission statements. I know you will find them inspirational.
And regarding the question: vigilance or craziness? Every single volunteer at Team Hope would give you the same answer. There is nothing we would not do to avoid having a missing child.
If you want to be more vigilant, download this free app from the FBI.
Team Hope: Personal Mission Statements
To utilize my life skills, experience and strength to serve, protect and nurture the future leaders of America, our children.
To dare to dream despite some nightmares
To embrace my helpfulness and positive attitude to create joy and delight
To serve God by encouraging and supporting my family and others.
To help foster healing and wellness under difficult circumstances
To promote justice and restore peace for God’s children, one precious lamb at a time
To walk in the way of right relationships with all things
To motivate, inspire, and positively impact the life of others
To accomplish commitments, promote empowerment and justice, and master generosity.
And to protect, nurture, and love my children with care, responsibility and integrity.
Team Hope. If you want to share your Mission Statements, please add them in the comments section.