I can’t believe 20 kids and 6 adults are dead. Shot in their school by a gunman. It made me cry. Shit, something like that could have happened in Philadelphia. That could have been our kid. As I sat devastated I thought, What now? What can I do?
I can be thankful for what I have. How can I let little or even big things bother me, when I consider what happened in Sandy Hook Elementary School?
I can be certain to appreciate and take full advantage of the time I have with my family. Don’t put family on the back burner for projects. Put work on the back burner for family. Our time isn’t guaranteed.
I can do something good. Ann Curry suggested we imagine what would happen if everyone committed 26 acts of kindness in honor of every child and heroic teacher lost in Newtown. A great idea and tribute. In less than a day tens of thousands of people have already responded and posted their acts of kindness online. Ann Curry’s Facebook page has a few thousand of them.
I can be thoughtful in how I explain this to children, when they ask. Here are some good suggestions from Fred Rogers.
I can be a part of the solution. People argue about the solution. Is it fewer guns on the streets? Is it better enforcement of gun laws? Is it a way to treat deranged individuals and identify them before they go on a rampage? Perhaps it’s some of each. What’s important is to do something to support what you think will have an impact. Find the advocacy groups supporting change in the areas you think will make a difference. Sign up for updates, so you know when you can take action in concert with organizations driving change. Perhaps it will be months or years from now when there’s actual legislation to support—let’s make sure we do something now, so we know how to help when it counts.
I can donate to the “Sandy Hook School Support Fund” setup by the United Way of Western CT to provide support services to the families and community that has been affected.
I can remind myself that despite this horror 99.99% of people are good. There are hundreds of thousands of ordinary people doing good every day. Good deeds don’t receive the same news coverage as atrocities but they happen all the time. They happen every day.
I was at a holiday party for Big Brothers Big Sisters earlier this week. There were probably over 150 or so Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the kids they mentor at the party. Ordinary people like us who spend time each week with a youth they mentor to change lives.
There are the people I regularly see on the street feeding the homeless.
There’s Rose Marie, a woman I met on Wednesday who volunteers every week with her husband at a Ronald McDonald House that provides comfort and support for sick children and their families.
There’s Phyllis and Darren Sudman whose tiny nonprofit, Simon’s Fund, recently got legislation passed that should save many young lives.
Although the world could be better, it is filled with good. Ordinary people doing extraordinary good every single day.
I hope we take the energy from this tragedy to contribute more good.