A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Everyday Tragedy

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.

There are car accidents and drunk drivers. Natural disasters and extreme weather conditions. Heavily-armed police officers. Drone strikes on a foreign country. Starvation. Or a madman with a knife.

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?

December 17, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future, Politics and Other Insects | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Quick Hits of the Week

  • Growing up, I didn’t really learn much about making and managing money. Most of the instruction regarding budgets and savings was done in passing and not nearly often enough. As a Dad, I’m trying to do better, so I’m always happy when friends share articles with me about teaching money management to kids. I only have a couple of points of minor disagreement. First, don’t give your kids an allowance. Pay them a commission for specific chores they perform. It will help them understand that money is earned through work. Second, don’t make your kids play Monopoly. It’s a terrible board game. (Life and Payday aren’t much better, but at least they don’t take as long.) There are much better games out there that will build money or resource management skills.
  • I’m rapidly working my way through Seth Godin’s latest manifesto. It covers his thoughts on how to change education to be more relevant to the current and coming age. Stop Stealing Dreams. As a homeschooling parent, I’m challenged to re-evaluate how we’re teaching our kids, and to root out some of the methods that have been heavily influenced by the school systems that we grew up in. If you’re involved in education I would encourage you to take a look at it.
  • A photographer walks through East Germany just after the wall fell, taking photographs of the stunning, but neglected, architecture. A decade later he re-traces his steps, and recreates his photographs. The transformation is inspiring.
  • A follow up to last week’s quick hit about Pat Robertson again declaring that it’s time to decriminalize marijuana. Apparently that ruffled the feathers of Jimmy Carter’s former secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph A. Califano, who criticized Pat for not having enough concern for the children. Appeals to the safety of “the children” automatically raises a red flag in my head that somebody is trying to pass or support bad legislation by twisting at people’s heartstrings. So, I’m once again in the odd position of backing Mr. Robertson. On this issue.

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week