Unless you are one of the lucky few that live under a rock, you know about the horrible assault on an elementary school in Connecticut last Friday. I’m not going to link to the story here, or talk about much in the way of details. A broken, disturbed young man walked into a school and proceeded to kill several teachers and many of their students. Children died.
I’m not a big fan of it when children are hurt or killed. I don’t like seeing it in television shows or movies. I’ve actually put books down when a story includes it. I sure as hell don’t like it when it happens in real life like it did last Friday.
My emotions go on a wild ride. I get angry at the needlessness of the lives cut short. I empathize with those who are mourning for their children. I feel afraid when I think of being separated from my own children in such a sudden and violent manner.
And I wait for all of that to pass, and for the bluster and speculation to clear, before I do anything. It’s too easy to think stupid and impulsive thoughts while in the middle of all of that emotional turmoil. To act on those thoughts wouldn’t be useful.
Extreme, sensationalized examples like the Connecticut school violence should remind us that we live in a world full of everyday tragedy. If we look beyond the tight focus put on this one instance, we should quickly realize that, around the world, far more than twenty children faced a shocking or disturbing death last Friday. Many more than that had to deal with severe wounds or other suffering. And that happens every single day.
Sometimes they just drop dead for no reason at all.
No matter how much we try to shield them from all risks and injuries, there is no guarantee that any of us will see our children grow to adulthood. (In fact, there is a growing concern that our efforts to protect them is harming them more.) We can’t let our fears cause us to react impulsively. Keep the extreme instances in perspective, and don’t unnecessarily trade their freedom for alleged safety.
Our children are just on loan to us. We’re responsible for raising and guiding them, but life is unpredictable. They can be gone in a flash, and there could be nothing we can do to stop it. All we can do is make the best of the time we are given and be grateful for every second of it.
What will we teach them while they’re under our care? What kind of vision and hope are we passing on to them? Are you pointing them to reach for something higher, or are you huddled with them under the shadow of everyday tragedy?
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