It’s Monday morning…and things are definitely different for the families that lost children during the murderous rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Things are different for all of us.
It probably looks the same on the outside for most of the country, including my family: my nieces are at school. My nephews are at daycare. Millions of parents dropped their kids off at school today, probably gave them a tighter squeeze than usual, and then drove off to work. But, it’s not the same…deep down, I’m scared. I’m scared of raising a child in a world where murders happen at elementary schools. I’m scared of raising a child in a society that is quick to blame and slow to take responsibility.
“The world is going to hell in a handbasket.” said every grandparent anywhere.
Each generation for the history of forever has been afraid for their children. We all want them to have a better life than we did. But with these tragedies and the sensationalist media, how can we be confident that our kids are safe?
I think I have an answer (it’s definitely not the answer): it’s us. (Here is where my friend, Dave, would step in and tell me I’m being an unrealistic Pollyanna.) As parents, and aunts, and uncles, and grandparents, and friends, and role models, we can make a positive difference. We can teach our kids to be the “helpers.” We can teach them kindness and respect. We can teach them how to think critically in a world where the media sells terror and ignorance. We can teach them to lead with logic instead of by impulse. We will put our foot down and discipline them when they act out. We will steer them in the right direction when they take a wrong turn. We will get to know their friends and their friends’ families. We will provide a safe location for them to grow and learn. We will love them.
(Disclaimer: of course, I am aware that dealing with a child with mental illness is an entirely different ballgame and one that I know nothing about.)
We can balance the tragedies with positivity. As a country, we need to make sure that those tiny children are remembered; not Adam Lanza. (Case in point: do you know the names of any of the kids who were killed?) We can focus on the positive aspects of those kids’ lives; not on how bad a person the shooter was. We can try to think of solutions to make our kids safer; and not focus on what went wrong.
If we can collectively make positive changes in our daily lives and try to find the silver lining in these tragedies, maybe there is a remote possibility that our generation, or our kids’ generation, could be the one to say
“The world is a better place.”
But until then, all I can say is rest in peace sweet kids…we will not forget you.