Response to the School Shooting in Conneticut
I sent a similar message to the one in the post to my newsletter subscribers earlier today, and got a bunch of responses asking me to publish it on my site to reach a larger audience. Thank you for helping me look towards the light on a day when we are hearing about so much darkness.
When I heard about today’s shooting at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Connecticut I immediately thought of my own children and it struck right at my heart, thinking of kids the same age facing such terror. I was blind-sided at first and filled with hopelessness and anger. What can we do when looking at so much pain?
I don’t have to remain hopeless.
I don’t know the right response to a horrific event like this. I don’t know how to solve the ills of our society that can breed such a hateful occurrence. Between potty training, grocery shopping, running a business, caring for children and cooking dinner, I don’t even have the energy to figure out what all those ills are. But I don’t have to sit here feeling ineffectual and hopeless. I do know some things I can do:
- I can be a witness to the pain of others – hold them in my heart and know that while I can’t fix it, I can honor what they feel. People need validation and a listening ear.
- I can cherish my children and spend time each day connecting with them. When we are the biggest influence in our children’s life, when they learn our values and know they are loved, they have a solid foundation to build their life on. From their connection with us, they learn kindness and gain the strength to heal the world.
- I can listen. Not fix, solve or explain away. I can be there as a safe harbor if my child wants to talk.
- I can renew my commitment to spreading peace. You, my readers, are my hope and companions on this journey. The way we raise our children will have more impact on this world than anything else we can do. When we can create peace in our home we create ripples that spread from there.
- I can be careful not to overindulge in the media surrounding this event. Hanging onto every detail of it will only put me in a bleak mood and take away from time doing the things that make my family peaceful.
When I look at my vibrantly alive children, I am blown away by the unbelievable loss of those families in Connecticut. Sure, I know children die every day, but when an event happens this “close to home,” in the sort of situation you can imagine your own family in…it’s very striking. We face the reality of our vulnerability and it is frightening.
Instead of living in fear, instead of living in hopelessness, I choose to honor the lives lost today by strengthening my commitment to really living each day with my kids – pausing to enjoy even the small moments worth noticing, making changes when I notice we’ve gotten off course, and soaking in the goodness when I get to hold them close.
Will you join with me in this commitment to our children? Through your parenting, will you help me make ripples of peace?
Love and light to you all. You are my hope in this world – you and the children you are raising with gentleness and courage.