Monday, December 17, 2012

The Lessons Learned

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There are no words, truly, that can possibly convey the sadness of the Newtown tragedy. Seemingly, we've all become pundits on the situation. We have our opinions, our theories, our ideas on how to eradicate such devastating events. I'm no different. I've shared my two cents on the matter across social media channels. But I don't want to continue to pontificate on the matter. I just want to tell you what I've learned. The only way I can manage to make sense of this otherwise senseless act is to try to learn something from it.

Have empathy and compassion. Everyone is on the uphill climb. Everyone is traveling on a hard road. You can't fix everyone's problems, but you can cut people a break once in a while. Be kind to everyone. We must take gentle care of each other.

Teach your children to be alert. We've become a society of looking down. Down at screens and gadgets. Down at our feet. We don't look each other in the eye anymore and say, "Hello." We don't take the time to appreciate or recognize what is happening around us, and therefore, the sensational only becomes more sensational. If you have children, question them on their surroundings. Make it a game. In the long run, this will help them recognize danger and act accordingly.

Engage in conversation. If you are reading this, chances are you live in a democratic country that protects your right to free speech. While you might not agree with what people say, you have the splendid opportunity  to peacefully disagree. And as long as it is respectful, an ongoing conversation about a contentious issue is the best agent for change.

In that same vein, have an open conversation with your children about feelings. Ask them how they would mediate a difficult situation. Let them know it is okay to feel alone, or sad, or fearful, and help them find peaceful ways to cope with those feeling.

"Look For the Helpers." It's so true. In every tragedy, there is hope. In every darkness, there is light.

And most importantly... Make sure your loved ones know they are loved by you. You can never tell them enough.

If you are looking for ways to help the people of Newtown, the following organizations are offering relief:
Newtown Memorial Fund
United Way of Western Connecticut
American Red Cross
Newtown Parent Connection

If you are searching for ways to help talk to children about the events at Newtown, here are some helpful links:
Save the Children
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

You can also send an Evergram to the people of Newtown

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