Saturday, 15 December 2012

December 14, 2012

The date is December 14, 2012. It’s Friday. Today has been one of highs and lows. The highs? I rehearsed the Christmas concert songs with 2 groups of adorably off key 4 year olds and laughed and laughed, I went to the Nutcracker ballet with my wonderful Mom and some fantastic people, and I tucked my own 2 boys into their own 2 beds. The lows? Some asshole shot and killed 20 children in a Connecticut elementary school.

Now here’s where I probably lose you, but bear with me because I have a point.

It’s a terrible tragedy, and 20 families will never, ever, never ever, be the same again. They will be forever broken. My heart aches for them. So does yours. And that is right. President Obama cried when he talked about it because it is so terribly sad and because it happened “on his watch”. You cried, and I cried, because it happened in a school that looked a little like ours, and to kids that seemed a lot like ours and that is too much to take in, too much to process, and WAY too much to accept. But accept it we must.

When today’s news hit, and you hugged your children tight, you remembered to remember how lucky you are to have them. But your first thought should not have been what if they had been mine? It should have been why did it take this to remind me? Our lives are so busy, so rushed, so scheduled. Why does it take someone else’s unbelievable tragedy to slow us down? To see?

Your second question should have been “what about the over 12000 …… TWELVE THOUSAND kids who died around the world today of preventable causes?” That’s a hard question. I wish I knew how to answer it, but at least I knew to ask it.

And what of those 20? What of those 20, who were just like mine and just like yours? Who died in fear too terrible to imagine? How do we honour them? How do we talk to our kids about this?

The answer is, I think, to not give the asshole who did this more attention and headspace than he deserves …. Which is none. Those children need to be mourned, by their family and friends, by their teachers and neighbours, just like every child who dies deserves to be mourned. But the act needs no thought at all. None.

I can’t stop a plane from falling out of the sky onto my home, or a gas line from blowing up the field my kid is playing soccer on, and I can’t stop a horrible crazy person from doing a horrible crazy thing. Neither can you.

All our kids need to know is that sometimes bad people do bad things. That fact has been true forever and likely will be to end of time. But when we live in fear, when we believe there is more bad in the world then good, when we are consumed with how to prevent bad instead of how to stimulate good, then the bad guys win. And I don’t accept that, and neither should you.

I don’t want my kids to have lock down drills, the teachers can and DO think about that because they are grown ups, but my kids don’t have to. I don’t want my kids to view every stranger as bad because that stranger might just need their help one day, or they might need that stranger’s kindness. I don’t want to give bad people much room in my kid’s head to fear them. Because I want my kid’s minds to be filled with creativity and good deeds and open doors and the pathways that lead them AWAY from fear, not towards the walls built by fear. When I hear about something like this happening, my reaction is not to rush into my school and ask them to guarantee that they have measures in place to make sure this can't happen, because they can't. Beyond a few simple common sense security measures their job and MY job is simply to work hard to try to produce human beings who would never do something like this. When something like this happens OUR job is to try harder.

When we accept that terrible things can happen and we can’t do anything about the unpredictable and the unimaginable, then we leave the door wide open to change the things we can, to make the world better for those who are still here, and to make doing so the only option. And that is the world I want my boys to live in.

*Don't get me wrong, this isn't the final word on this subject, there is a LONG rant inside me about guns, and about weapons and defense manufacturers making millions and billions of dollars a year in a global recession selling guns that shoot hundreds of rounds a minute to civilians and bomb sniffing equipment to public transit and schools. A rant about the fact that 1000s of people right in our city tackle mental health issues every year but don't and would never hurt anyone; what causes someone to do something like this is something else and we need to find what that is. A rant about how we (those likely reading this) live in the safest places in the world and we lock our doors (I lock my door) but the people who live in the most dangerous places in the world don't lock theirs, because their door is a tin sheet from the garbage dump ........ they rely of each other to keep them selves safe, and sometimes they even succeed. But this rant; this rant just needed to be about not letting fear win.

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