I don’t know if there is anything to “learn” from last week’s tragic events in Connecticut. People are using this devastation as a platform to advance their political agendas. Schools are seizing the opportunity to check their own disaster protocol. Parents are holding their children a little tighter and probably considering the advantages of homeschooling.
Unfortunately, terrible things can happen, and we have no control over it. Yesterday, I sobbed watching coverage of families burying their children a week before Christmas. I saw a little curly-haired six-year old girl, who had wanted a new pair of cowgirl boots for Christmas. She looked a lot like my own little curly-haired six-year-old girl, and my heart broke for her family.
In the wake of this sort of tragedy, it’s easy to feel depressed and out of control. I’m sure many parents feared sending their kids to school Monday. I was not reassured in the least when my children’s school called to tell me that their lockdown procedures ensured my children’s safety. I know what their protocol is, and it couldn’t stop a madman with a guy bent on murder just as Sandy Hook’s couldn’t.
So how do we move forward? I pray that these families have faith because I don’t know what besides faith in God can overcome such devastation and heartbreak. I have hugged my children much more than usual, carried my six-year-old around like a baby, read her a few more books, and snuggled her for a few more minutes at bedtime. Additionally, I have tried to refocus on the things about their lives that I can control, such as:
- Show them unconditional love and acceptance.
- Teach them compassion for people and animals.
- Be the kind of person I want them to be.
- Instill in them faith in God.
- Surround them with people whose values they can model.
- Feed them healthy food.
- Answer their questions even if the answer is, “I don’t know, but we will find out.”
How did this tragedy change you as a person or as a parent? What will you do differently going forward?