The moment that you become a parent you are filled with the understanding that there is nothing worse than the loss of your child. It was with this understanding in mind that I cried tears for the victims of the tragic school shooting in Connecticut on Friday. Although I know the horror of the day is felt by everyone, parent or not, I could not look at it through any other perspective than that of a Mother. I was and am filled with so much sadness, confusion, frustration and the overwhelming need to hold my own boy close. I immediately start to wonder what I can do, to help, to prevent, to keep my own family safe.
In the wake of a tragedy we all begin to point fingers, to try to ensure that something like this horror will not occur again. Hopefully we also look to ourselves and ask what we can do to create a more peaceful culture, I know that I have. I could spend more time being charitable, I could be more involved supporting politicians and policy that I believe in. But I have realized that the most important thing I can do to help contribute to a peaceful, compassionate and sane world is raise my child, to the very best of my abilities, to exemplify these qualities. That focusing each day on being the best parent that I can be is a way to help. I am not implying that it is a simple equation, that thoughtful parenting negates the existence of maniacs and mentally ill adults in the world, but I do think that in this county there is a shameful lack of attention and respect paid to raising our children. I see this lack of attention in our government, our lack of good education, our lack of laws that protect children, our lack of maternity leave, our lack of health care. But I also see this lack of attention in families, so many people seem to think that it is someone else’s responsibility to raise their children, to teach and instill values in them, that the schools should do it, or the government should do it. Raising children should be everyone’s priority, family, government and community. It is the children who will be the citizens of tomorrow, and shape our country, whether it be peaceful or violent will depend on them.
I hope that some positive change can come out of this tragedy. I hope that the community and families affected can find peace and healing. I hope that during this season of love and charity that we can sustain these traits and carry them in to the new year.
OK, I’ll get off my soap box now.