The Story Behind The Movement
It Began With 3 Words
Scarlett Lewis founded Choose Love Movement after her son, Jesse, was murdered during the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in December 2012. It is one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
At six years old, Jesse, alongside 19 of his first-grade classmates and six educators, died. Yet law enforcement says Jesse used his final moments to heroically save nine of his friends.
Shortly after his death, Scarlett discovered a message Jesse had written on their kitchen chalkboard. It was written phonetically, as it would have been by a six year old, but it read, “Norturting Helinn Love” (Nurturing, Healing Love).
Scarlett knew instantly that Jesse intended those words to be a way she could frame the tragedy and what it could teach the world about how to avoid tragedies like this in the future. After hours of research, she learned that these three words are actually included in the definition of “compassion” across all cultures.
- Nurturing means loving kindness and gratitude.
- Healing means forgiveness.
- Love is compassion in action.
She realized that love, connection and belonging are universal wants and needs that connect all of humanity. If the shooter had received more of it in his life, the tragedy might never have happened. Scarlett set out on a mission to teach as many people around the world about this message, beginning with children.
In the wake of tragedy, one mother chose to be part of the solution.
With the guidance of Christopher Kukk, PhD, Dean of the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars and Professor of Political Science at Longwood University, a Fulbright Scholar and author of “The Compassionate Achiever,” these three words (Nurturing Healing Love) led to the creation of a formula that can be used by anyone, at any time, anywhere in the world to manage their response to any situation, incorporated into a lifespan Social & Emotional Learning and Character Development program.
The Choose Love Formula™ is based on the profound result of practicing the character values inherent in “Nurturing Healing Love,” which are:
Courage + Gratitude + Forgiveness + Compassion in Action.
These four character values are easy to learn. When practiced, they strengthen the health and resilience of individuals, improve the community and culture of groups and promote a safer, more peaceful and loving world.
A Simple 4-Part Formula
When learned and practiced daily, these character values transform you, your relationships with others, and create a ripple effect of happiness, health and productivity throughout your school, home and community.
And the best news is that, once you’ve learned them, you will have them in your tool belt for the rest of your life.
The willingness and ability to work through obstacles despite feeling embarrassment, fear, reluctance, or uncertainty.
Mindful thankfulness and the ability to be thankful even when things in life are challenging.
Choosing to let go of anger and resentment toward yourself or someone else, to surrender thoughts of revenge, and to move forward with your personal power intact.
COMPASSION IN ACTION
BOTH the understanding of a problem or the suffering of another and acting to solve the problem or alleviate the suffering.
“I love everything about the Choose Love program! I have seen such a positive impact on our entire school culture after implementing Choose Love over the last two years. Even our youngest students are able to identify feelings and use brave breaths to calm and regulate themselves. They are engaged and participate in all the lessons and there is a common vocabulary among all students and teachers. We see students thinking of others and reaching out with compassion to help peers. There is just a feeling of family and love on our school campus and that is beginning to extend beyond our building as well!”