Scarlett Lewis founded the 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 and that if the shooter had received more of them 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.
With the guidance of Christopher Kukk, Ph.D., 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 no cost, 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.
To learn more about this Social Emotional Behavior intervention, please check out the Choose Love Movement tile, located in the Behavior Interventions section of the Training and Resources tab (pictured below).