We are in unprecedented times. Not only do we now, as a country, experience some amount of anxiety over our personal safety in public places, including schools, we now face a rampant deadly virus.

We have choices to make, right now, in how we thoughtfully respond. Our children learn from what we do more than what we say. How do we model “Choosing Love” in our thoughts, words and actions for our kids, our family, friends and communities when anxiety and fear are seemingly at all time highs?

First bring everything to the present moment. Our brains are wired for survival, not peace and happiness, so it’s easy to spiral down a fearful path. Research tells us most of what we fear never happens. We can override our ingrained negative bias and focus on what’s right in front of us, and most likely this is your family, safe, and together in your home!

Reframe! With my constant travel and speaking schedule, the cancellation of events, although disappointing, has given me a chance to breathe. I’ve used the time to catch up and be more supportive of my team. My son is home from college and I am so GRATEFUL. In fact, I’m planning to spend the day with him, “Having a Lot of fun!”

Next, rather than fearing the virus, let’s practice COURAGE by asking ourselves what lessons we can learn from this. It is humbling, for sure. Our vulnerability to illness reminds us that we are connected through our humanity. We rely on each other for even our basic needs (where is the toilet paper?). Everyone has someone who is susceptible. Perhaps this experience is telling us that we need to be more mindful of caring for ourselves, and each other. Perhaps we consider FORGIVING those who have hurt us and cutting the cord that attaches us to that pain by letting it go. Forgiveness is the key to healthy relationships and relationships are the secret to happiness (per Harvard University research).

Where do we find hope? Hope can spring eternal from the inside of each one of us; in our ability to choose to be present with our families; by re-framing this moment to one of personal growth and focus on what’s important, i.e. our needs rather than our never-ending wants; and using this time as an opportunity to strengthen ourselves by modeling for others how to practice COMPASSION-IN-ACTION by caring for ourselves and our neighbors. This is thoughtfully responding by CHOOSING LOVE.

We are learning that ultimately we are all connected. CHOOSING LOVE is the strongest action plan to take our personal power back and be our best self, and live our best lives. Coronavirus is a wake up call to be GRATEFUL for every moment we have, tomorrow is not guaranteed. And it never was!

Choose Love Everyday.


  • Scarlett Lewis

    Chief Movement Officer

    Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement

    Scarlett Lewis founded the nonprofit Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement after her son was murdered during the Sandy Hook elementary school tragedy in December 2012. Shortly after his death, Scarlett decided to be part of the solution to the issues that we're seeing in our society -- and that also caused the tragedy -- and turned it into an opportunity to build a culture of love, resilience, and forgiveness into our communities at a time when it is needed the most. Scarlett created Choose Love and became an advocate for social and emotional learning (SEL) and character development that teaches children how to manage their emotions, feel connected, and have healthy, meaningful relationships. Choose Love is a no cost, comprehensive, lifespan, next generation SEL character development program that teaches children and adults how to thoughtfully respond with love in any situation by using the Choose Love Formula (Courage + Gratitude + Forgiveness + Compassion-in-Action), and teaches children how to handle adversity, have courageous conversations, and to respond with love. Choose Love has been downloaded in all 50 states and 100 countries, reaching over 1.9 million children.  Choose Love extends beyond the classroom through additional no cost programs, including Choose Love at Home, Choose Love for Communities, and Champions Choose Love for young athletes. In direct response to COVID-19, Choose Love created numerous free resources to help children and adults deal with the stress and anxiety of this uncertain time.  Also, to help support educators and students as they navigate the start of the 2020-2021 school year, Choose Love created a free social-emotional wellness program, “Choosing Love in Our Brave New World.” This re-entry unit was designed to help transition students back to a new normal of education whether it’s in class or distance learning with particular awareness of the current events and environment, and fosters the development of a growth mindset and perseverance. Lessons incorporate trauma-sensitive, healing-centered language and practices which are based on the latest neuroscience and post-traumatic growth research. Scarlett has traveled extensively throughout the United States to share her inspiring and empowering story and her far-reaching programs. Currently, she is conducting numerous virtual presentations to spread her mission. Scarlett has spoken at multiple national conferences including National Forum on Character; SXSW EDU; ASCD Empower; Music City SEL conference in Nashville; and presented at the TedX Fayetteville. Scarlett and the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement has been featured in the New York Times; BBC; Fox News; CBS News; Today Show; The Guardian; and many regional papers and has been featured in high-profile magazines, including Fortune; Strive; and the Huffington Post. She has a podcast speaking about the character traits that comprise the Choose Love Formula and how the formula can be used in any circumstance to promote self-empowerment; resilience, connection; and optimism. Scarlett is also a frequent contributor to other podcasts. Visit www.ChooseLoveMovement.org.