09/30/2013 06:56 pm ET Updated Nov 30, 2013

A Dad's Reaction to a Violent Threat Against His Daughter's School

"There's a fine line between brave and stupid," said someone, somewhere.

At first, I wasn't entirely certain on which side of said line we were standing on Monday, September 30th.

Our school had been threatened over the weekend. Or at least the threat was discovered on the weekend. That's just one vague nugget of many. The pdf letter that was emailed on Sunday afternoon from the school's CEO was short on details, a point that I chose to see as intentional rather than absent-minded. It was alarming still, with casual references to bomb sniffing dogs, increased security, ongoing investigations, and a police presence on Monday. But at the end of the one page message was a thank you to those who helped bring about a resolution. Um, so this here threat is in the past and is all tidied up? Or not? Ongoing investigation + resolution = confused parents.

I reckon some moms and dads kept their kids safe at home and hugged them tighter, if that was an option in their family's work structure. It was for us and we considered it, up until car-running-lunches-packed-standing-in-the-driveway o'clock, but we decided to err on the side of standing strong in the face of uncertain danger. I won't call it bravery. Or stupidity. But throughout Monday morning, I felt the tickle of both in my chest.

I don't know if the threat was day specific. Or building specific (there are three, divided up by grade level). There is a lot I don't know, including, where in the hell was the police presence when I dropped the kids off?, but I know for certain that we cannot shut the door, lock the windows, and hide from anything or anyone. Ever. That's simply no way to live and I refute, possibly stubbornly, any notion that it is necessary. It might feel better in the moment, I mean, sure I wish my girls were making a mess within earshot of me on Monday, but that's not tenable for a well-lived life. We must be out there. We must be some kind of brave.

My two girls did not know they were being some kind of brave on Monday. I wanted to have a conversation with them, I always do, but the timing and my mind and the words and the driveway and the all of it wasn't going to be coherent or nimble enough to inform without frightening. We'll talk about it all over dinner one night soon. We'll try to explain, again, that there is danger in the world, and that sometimes it can feel very close to us, like in our schools and workplaces, but that we have to continue on our path -- smartly, aware, and as safely as possible. But continuing on. Yes. That is brave, and often scary as hell, but not stupid, not at all stupid. That is living.