As we struggle to come to grips with the horrific, senseless devastation that claimed the lives of innocent children and dedicated educators in Newtown, Connecticut, I’m sure we all reacted in much the same way. Once the invasion of sickening shock had given way to consuming sorrow, we probably all sought out our children and hugged them just a little tighter than we normally do, just a little longer, and with just a hint of desperation that they may not have ever felt before. I’m sure there wasn’t one of us who didn’t empathize with the families of those kids, the staffof Sandy Hook elementary school, and the courageous men and women of the attending Police and Ambulance Services who were witnesses to something so atrocious that it will undoubtedly haunt them forever.
But in the wake of last Friday’s disgusting act of cowardice, empathy is just a start. If we care enough to hug our children, then we as society must care enough to teach them better lessons than we have. We need to teach them respect. Pure and simple. Respect for themselves, respect for others and respect for their communities. It takes a whole village to raise a child, and we need to seize every opportunity to instill in the kids who live among us the belief that they are valued and they belong. We need to help them experience the warmth that comes with helping others, and the satisfaction that comes from contributing to society in a positive way. We need to teach them that “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft” are just video games, and not a way of life. This Christmas, let’s do more than just preach “Peace on Earth.” Let’s activate it right here, one child at a time, and sustain it year round. To do our best to raise our kids without having to experience an atrocity like one we have just seen, let’s do what we can every day. True generosity to the future means giving all to the present.
Lest we forget,