“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” — Mister Rogers
I drove on Rt. 95 North in Connecticut today and spotted a billboard that said, ‘Sandy Hook chooses love’. Perhaps that is how we begin to recover, we choose love.
The young students of Sandy Hook returned to school this week to familiar surroundings thanks to thoughtful community support. They lit up when they saw their desks, book bags, teachers and friends. Children are wonderfully resilient and always looking for the good in people. They look to love.
This holiday season, there was a deep sadness we felt for the victims’ families because we knew that it wasn’t just this Christmas they would be missing, but every Christmas, every birthday, every first day of school. There is an emptiness that won’t end for the families.
We’re also filled with fear that this could happen anywhere to anyone. When our children ask if they are safe, how do we honestly respond? How do we confidently send them off to school?
I’ve thought about this a lot since the Sandy Hook Elementary school incident happened, and wondered how we could answer these questions for our children and our own peace of mind.
There are actually a few answers:
As Mr. Rogers suggests, look to the helpers. Fortunately, the good people in the world are in the majority. Though this speaks to our outlook; having a good frame of mind isn’t enough.
We can make things better by influencing and insisting on the change that must happen such as:
- Fewer guns, better screening and a ban on semi-automatic weapons.
- The 113th Congress just started their session. Why didn’t the previous Congress do something, and why didn’t we?
- See my blog post from July 2012 following the shooting in Aurora CO ‘Hugging your family is neither a strategy nor a solution.’ The concern is that 4 million member National Rifle Association will present strong opposition because they are a power lobby. But if we believe in the power of numbers, it should comfort you to know there are 35 million parents in America. Congress should be more afraid of parents then a gun lobby. Make sure voice and vote are heard.
- When writing Congress, insist on better care for mental health. You will note that it isn’t even a subject choice on the drop down menu, so you will have to write that in the body of your message.
Finally, do your best to raise good people so that we always have a growing supply of helpers.
If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much. – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Tina Nocera, Founder