Monday, December 17, 2012

A Light in the Darkness

I was sitting with the kids on the rug Friday afternoon, reading a few chapters from "A Tale of Despereaux" when my phone started vibrating in my pocket, alerting me that I was receiving text messages. I had put it in there during lunch recess duty and had forgotten to take it out and put it away. It vibrated, message after message, which I found a little alarming, but I kept on reading. We were getting ready for afternoon recess in a few minutes, and I would get a chance to check it then. This is our last week of school before our holiday break, and on Thursday the plan is to show the movie to the kids during our reading block, but in order to do that, we have to finish reading the book.

The time came to get our coats on, and as I can get mine on quicker than the rest of them, I used that time to find out what who was so urgently messaging me during the school day. Nothing could have prepared me for what I read. It was The Boy™, letting me know that there had been shootings at a school in CT, and what they knew up until that time. He's on the emergency management teams for both our town and for our school district. The safety of all of our students is the part of his job that he takes the most seriously, even though it's not what he gets paid for. My heart stopped as I read his words, and I immediately wanted to gather all the kids back into the class and keep them all inside for recess. Ridiculous, I know. CT is hours away, and they would all be so upset about being kept in, especially if I couldn't come up with a good reason for why. It was the mother in me, and I couldn't help how I felt. I wanted to keep them safe, where I could see them all, until I could send them home to their parents in 25 minutes when the day ended. I fought back the tears that were creeping into my eyes, and we all headed out for recess.

This weekend, I have tried to stay away from the news as much as I could. I don't believe in the way the media handles these kind of events. Often times there is too much focus on the politics, and the failings of society, and too much sensationalism on the actions of the killer. I know that Adam Lanza was a mentally ill young man, and that we, as a society failed him. Having worked in special education for a lot of years, I have been on the receiving end of violent outbursts from students. I have listened to the parents who don't know what to do with their children, who even in the 6th grade are angry and large, and out of control. I read this story yesterday, and it broke my heart. We need to be doing better.Those parents, and their children, need our prayers too, and our support. We need to look at what kind of services we can be providing for them, and what kind of help we can be providing for them.

Last night, I sat down in family room, and started working on a few things, and World News tonight came on. The Boy™ was waiting for the President to come on TV, and had left the channel on. They did a story about the kids, and the teachers, that immediately sucked me in. It was the first I had really watched, about the whole incident, and it broke my heart right in half. I think I sat there for the full half an hour and just cried. They talked about that brave little girl who was the sole survivor in her class, and how many of the parents in that town have "survivor's guilt". How they feel so guilty for being grateful that their children are alive. Can you even imagine?

There is a quote I love that says, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Instead of pointing fingers, and giving statistics, and talking about how many gun dealers there are in the area of Newton CT, which doesn't solve a darn thing, let's start a movement of change. I propose we start being nice to each other. Acting with kindness and decency. Take a plate of cookies to your shut in neighbor, or shovel their driveway. Send holiday greetings to residents in a nursing home. Slow down for pedestrians in crosswalks. Volunteer at your library. Smile more. Say thank you. Slow down. If everyone started with themselves, it would have a ripple effect, like the rock thrown into the pond. Imagine what we could do. My love and prayers stay with all of those affected by the tragedy in CT. “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” John 1:5

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