The weekend news has been filled with the tragedy that happened in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday. As I rushed through my day on Friday, I hadn’t heard about the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Saturday morning when I opened The Wall Street Journal, I saw the headline. It said, “School Gunman Kills 27” under a large photo of police officers leading a single file line of children away from the school. My first thought was to make sure my daughter didn’t see the headline. Protecting our children from any kind of harm is a parental instinct that starts even before they are born.
My heart went out to the families of those children who were killed on Friday at Sandy Hook, even while the magnitude of the tragedy made it incomprehensible. I thought of the nightmare all of the parents must have experienced when they heard there was something going on at the school, but it still wasn’t clear what had happened. I can’t begin to imagine the incredible pain the parents and families of those who were killed must be feeling.
As parents, we all have those moments of utter, heart-pounding panic when we have momentarily lost sight of our child or when they’ve gone out with a friend without leaving a note or calling to let us know. There is nothing more precious to any of us than our children. We feel everything they feel. When they’re happy, we’re happy. When they’re hurt, we’re hurt. In this loss, the parents are lost.
For all the discussions in the media about gun control and better school safety
procedures, there isn’t a clear answer as to what could prevent this from happening again.
In the meantime, the surviving children, the families of the victims, the friends,
neighbors and the Newtown, Connecticut community are grieving. Maybe what we
can do, in our humanity, is grieve in our hearts with them.
Robbie Parker, the father of Emilie Parker one of the children killed on Friday, was quoted in numerous media forums as saying, “The world is a better place because Emilie was in it. I’m so blessed to be her dad.”
Maybe that’s the lesson. Our children make the world a better place. They bring smiles and energy and hope for the future. In memory of those who were killed at Sandy Hook on Friday, find some way that you can make the world a better place. Maybe you’ll volunteer at a local organization. There are all kinds of places within each local community that need help whether for an hour or a longer time commitment. Most of all, let's try to remind ourselves of what’s important in our lives and let those we hold closest know how much we love them.
To donate directly to the families of those killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School go to the Newtown Family & Youth Services website.