Connecticut School Shooting — What Would You Tell Your Children?
In the aftermath of a horrible and terrifying happening like the shooting that took place today in Connecticut, what would you do as a parent? Obama, himself, had a hard time trying to decide what to say as a parent. In his address to the country after this tragedy, he spoke not just as the president but a father. How do you explain what happened to a little one? How could we prevent this here in East Texas?
The grey and dark clouds covering our skies today are very fitting for all of the tragedy that has occured across the world.
In Connecticut there are 27 dead, including 20 children from a shooting at an elementary school. Also, there are 22 children hospitalized in China after a knife attack in a school. These two things have weighed today down with grief, fear, mourning, sadness, and disbelief. These are things that we are unprepared for. How do we deal with something so shocking as an attacker with a gun or knife terrorizing our children?
Obama, when addressing the nation found it hard to keep his composure. There was even a moment where he had to pause and wipe away tears. He said, "Our hearts are broken today." As a father, Obama stated that he felt this tragedy was so close to home. He continued by saying that the heart ache comes when you remember that the victims, "They had their entire lives ahead of them - birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own." It is a hard thing to swallow when you look at this situation as an outsider and as a parent.
How do you explain to the little ones what has happened at their school? What is the proper way to tell them that something bad happened to their teacher or friends? How do you make them feel safe when they have experienced one of the worse things anyone could experience, adult or child?
Tonight will be very hard for so many. For those that have lost a loved one, the world sends out their thoughts and prayers. For those that are in the hospital waiting with desperate thoughts for their loved ones struggling to make it through the injuries they received, we all wish you the best and hope that no more harm or sadness comes to you. For those that are lucky enough to have everyone they cherish at their side and doing fine, we all send hugs for the terror you lived through today.
There is not much said for those that survive these horrible instances. The ones that must watch as others around them are harmed leaves an everlasting black mark on their soul. For a child to have to work through the confusion and fright of something like a shooting or stabbing is a crime in itself. As a parent, what are you suppose to do to help them get through this?
Their will be help from counsellors and other professionals. When you leave their office and head home, what do you do with the questions and tears? Death and violence are the things we try to keep from the young. They are too small to understand quite yet how cruel and depressing this world can be. They will ask their mommy or daddy when they will see their teacher again, over and over, because they cannot understand that they will never see them again.
Some parents will tell their child about heaven and hell. Some parents will tell their child about a different afterlife fitting to their religion or beliefs. Some will have no real answers. No matter what you tell them, these children will carry this for the rest of their lives.
Sometimes the best we can do when we hear about these terrible things is to try to prevent them from ever happening again.
President Obama stated in his address that, "We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics." What will need to happen to secure safety for our school children?
Better school security, teaching weapon safety, preparing school staff for preventative actions, and trying to recognize a problem before it goes too far are all things that can be intensified or improved to keep our children from this kind of trauma and horrific terror. We are not able to predict what someone will do, especially when a case of mental insecurity is involved. Could this have been prevented? This is always a popular question on everyone's minds when the dust settles from these crimes. What if someone had seen these aggressors were planning to do something so terrible? What if there had been tighter security?
It is hard to do, but important, that we find peace with what has happened. Letting guilt and regret take residence on our shoulders will do no good. We need now to focus on prevention and recovery.
The families of those that have had their lives completely shaken by today tragedies need support and love. Maybe, some of the prevention we can focus on is teaching ourselves, children, and those around us to keep this love and consideration for each other a daily thing. Maybe less of these horrors would happen if more of the world lived with love for one another.
I wish for that better world that never sees what we have today. My thoughts, prayers, and love are headed to all of those that stood in evil's way today. For those that have lost someone, are waiting for a good word for a loved one, for those children that were blessed enough to just have this memory and a clean bill of health, and for those parents that must explain to a little one what happened today. May those that will suffer forever from this memory know that this is not what the world is made for. This is one terrible and cloudy day, tomorrow will bring something that will show why this life is beautiful and full of love.