As a mother of two very loved children, I feel obligated to comment on today’s tragedy in Connecticut. Another school shooting. Another mass of babies dead long before their time. Another news-filled day of horrid images and painstaking emotions written on the faces of parents waiting to hug their children. It’s a shame that the word “another” can even be mentioned in this context, but sadly, it is just that…another.
I recall in 1999 coming home from high school and seeing my dad lying on the couch in our basement crying while watching news coverage of the Columbine shootings. I took a simple glance at the TV and went to my room. Today I took a very different perspective on virtually the same news story more than a decade later. Mabel was sleeping in her crib and I was glued to CNN, despite my despise of Wolf Blitzer’s total and utter lack of emotion. Coen kept asking me to play games with him, so I turned down the volume and brought his chalkboard into the living room and we sat and colored pictures of Christmas trees and sunshines and smiling, happy cartoon animals. As I glanced from the TV back to my son, so full of energy and life, I kept catching myself sucking tears back into my eyes. There are parents who will go home tonight without their little ones. There are parents who will have unopened gifts under their tree this year because one hateful coward felt some sense of societal justice was being served through this massacre. There are parents who need hugs and love and prayer on this day more than any.
Colleges, high schools, and now elementary schools…all have fallen victim to crimes such as these. What’s next? I cannot fathom a human being with a heart of any size entering a preschool with a weapon. But, then again, I cannot imagine this in any scenario, so I guess I’m just naive. As they interviewed Dr. Drew, he proclaimed that “This Must Stop!” How do you make it stop? Why does it keep happening? There are no tried and true answers, but he advised that we must form a sense of connection as a family, as a community, as a state, a country, and a world. But start small…start with the “as a family” part.
As parents, we all have control over this one. I am proud to see so many of my mommy friends on Facebook posting about how much they are looking forward to giving their children extra long hugs tonight, because this is where we must start. Form a unit of love within your home and it will be spread to the community, and then upwards. “Paying it forward” isn’t just an expression – it can be a community-builder, a life-changer, and a day-saver. Love is the answer. We can all contribute love.
Kiss your spouse when they walk in the door. Let go of the frustration of a dirty house and play Candyland with your toddler. Let them fall asleep holding your hand. Eat chocolate ice cream before dinner. Give a couple extra kisses before bed and TELL them “I love you.” Use those exact words. Our babies take so much of what we teach them into their adulthoods. Let’s make our lessons good and valuable ones. And let the greatest of these lessons be love.
I am not often one for quoting scripture, but this one seems too fitting on a day such as today:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Thinking and praying for Sandy Hook Elementary today. For those committed teachers who daily gave their all to those kids for a small, unassuming paycheck. For the principal who had five of her own (who I can only assume are beautiful, based on her photo) daughters at home. For the parents and siblings of those precious, young lost lives. My heart is broken today, just as I’m sure my dad’s heart was broken when I walked past him 13 years ago on our couch. Same story, different day. Let’s do our part to make it stop. Love, people. Just give a little love.