Talk or Act?

Posted: December 17, 2012

Last week, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School horror, I shared on Facebook that I had no words. Since, I have watched and read many reactions to the loss of such innocence. People have expressed such wisdom, insight, and resource. Yet, I am still without words.

I find I am left with one thought. Maybe more than words, laws and regulations, and resources, we must also demonstrate new behaviors. I am not so naive to think the answer is that simple because I understand so much more is needed. However, I have to ask myself, “What can I do?” What can I do that teaches young people new ways of behaving?

Instead of getting angry, can I take the time to seek alternative solutions? Can I demonstrate that there are more responses than harm or rage? Can I slow down so I can be more civil?

Instead of saying more needs to be done, can I give more? Can I encourage communities to consider solutions to societal issues as individuals who must work together collectively to create healthy, safe environments? Can I turn care into share?

Can I demonstrate how one can be a part of a deliberation with definite opinions, but also with the wisdom to find ways to work together, before winning becomes more important than the greater good? Can I demonstrate humility?

Can I find a way to help parents understand that as much as we may want to wrap our children in a cocoon that we must realize that environments that help young people to engage, explore, and experience how to learn about and understand others are more important than ever? Authentic connections are as imperative as the ability to accomplish math.

Will I remember to turn off the TV and take a child's hand and walk them outside? To search for four-leaf clovers with our noses in the grass? Will I stop the noise and frenetic activity long enough to be still — to hear the beat of my heart?

Will I remember to sing, inviting young voices to join me? To be silly and twirl about until we get dizzy — just because we can?

Then I stopped here because I was still at a loss of words. How would I close these thoughts . . . ?

Later in the evening, I listened to President Obama address the community of Newtown and the nation. Regardless of one's politics, his thoughts brought closure to the thoughts I had earlier in the day.

I realized I had been asking myself, "Am I doing enough?" And, I believe, I replied, "I must do more." The President is right — I will have to change to see change in our world. I hope we all decide to do so because, as he said, "We all bear responsibility." Maybe that is why this loss of innocence rendered me speechless — I bear responsibility and must do my part to create change.

As always, I am encouraged by the fact I work for a community, the camp community, made up of individuals that I know will do the same.

Visit the resource page for talking with children about tragedies.