December 15th

Good morning everyone. I hope this day finds some peace and beauty in the world today.

Yesterday was a horrific tragedy. It was an awakening call for the nation. We can no longer take anything for granted in today’s society.

Parents arise every morning with their busy schedules of breakfast, and getting lunches packed and sending their loved ones of to school. They wish them a good day and look forward to their return at the end of day when families can share in the joy of the daily activities, as they look at beautiful art work, stories written and special papers brought home from school. Parents looking forward to mementos that they will cherish for a life time.

Yesterday however, that all changed for an entire community. Not just a class, not just the families of those that lost someone, but everyone in small Connecticut town was changed for ever.

Many will no longer get up to the laughter of loved ones, have to fix breakfast for them or pack their lunches. Now they will try to piece their lives back together making sense of it. However, they will never make sense of it.

All will go through the stages of grief but in different ways and in different orders. Some will be able to get over the grief faster than others.

However, for those that were in the building of that elementary school and for those first responders there are other stages the will have to go through.

1. Guilt of surviving: they must accept that the Lord wants them here on earth it wasn’t there time to leave yet. Neighbors must not be afraid to reach out to one another. Share your family with someone who is aching.

2. Blame: they must understand that no one person is to blame in this type of situation. Something terrible happened out of every one’s control. It didn’t start over night and it won’t end over night.

3. Helplessness: Why couldn’t I have done something more to have helped? You must accept that everything was done that could have possibly been done or there would have been more loss of lives.

4. Regrets: Wishing you had said things that were left unsaid. Things that you didn’t get to do together. This is the time to build memories. Continue to celebrate the life of the one you love.

5. Questioning: Many will want answers that they will never get. Them must learn how to accept that and deal with it constructively.

6. Routines: Depression has a way of taking over when one doesn’t keep up their daily routine. It is important to still try to go on living. Remember your loved ones would want you to smile and be happy without guilt. Continue to live.

7. Siblings: Guilt and loneliness as they miss a loved one that they couldn’t help. They will need to deal with their emotions constructively, honestly, being listened to , talked to and guided on this journey of understanding.

8. Remorse: Many people will experience remorse for having not done something they promised to do or for having not spent enough time with the loved one that is gone or for having disciplined them when they could have loved them. They need to understand that you live in the moment of each day for better or worse and then you start each new day over. Some will not be able to start another day over however, memories can life on forever.

9. Courage: It takes courage to face each new day and its fears but everyone has courage deep inside if they choose to pull it out. Now is a time for an entire nation to support one another not with blame or unkind words but with courage. It is a time when this community needs to face the Christmas season with celebration and happy memories. Put those gifts under the tree. Open them on Christmas Day. Place them in a sport designated as a memorial for your loved one. Celebrate their life not their death. Put together a memory book. Help your neighbor and go on living.

10. Love: How does one love without fear. It is important that we teach our children through parental guidance and wisdom. There are many good people in the world and yet we have to be aware of signs around us. We must know how to identify our enemies and watch for trouble but at the same time we must live with unconditional love for we don’t know what time we have on earth.

Never go to bed made. Always forgive the person you are upset with.

Only through forgiveness can you learn to accept the things that you cannot change. If you don’t forgive it will destroy your soul. We may never forget but we must forgive.

I have worked with many emotionally disturbed youth and adults through my forty years as a teacher. It is not easy to understand the scars that cannot be seen. However, they are just as real as any scar you could visualize. You must learn to understand the emotions of people. Recognize the changes, and deal with the behaviors. You must nurture with tough love.

No one directly involved with get through this alone. They will need professional help and the sooner they admit that and start talking with someone the healthier they will be.

Having been through lock downs I understand the fear and panic but no one can understand it until you walk in their shoes. I have not been through a shooting and my heart goes out to everyone in that school yesterday.

I must praise the Staff and the community emergency responders for their preparedness and for talking care of those that were rescued.

Thank you for cover their eyes and telling them to close their eyes. That was important.

It is time now that our nation stands up to the responsibility that it has to keep everyone safe. This isn’t about gun control. It is about the moral decline of society and what it is going to take to get morality back to the level that supports families, neighbors, neighborhoods schools, neighborhood stores, and yes neighborhood churches.  We need our neighborhoods back.

We need to  be able to allow children to play outside safely and know that neighbors are going to scold you if you do wrong. That was okay when I grew up because I knew everyone cared and my mother would find out.

When we say it takes a community to raise a child we must mean it and stop taking away the neighborhood nucleus that holds it together.

Divorce has caused more problems in our society than anything. Abandoned children, unwanted and uncared for by many parents. Grandparents now having to raise grandchildren. It is a time we hold parents accountable to be actively involved in their children’s lives. No excuses! The scars of divorce run deep. They may not be seen but even in the best of situations they are there.

It is time to make our schools secure and safe and let the children be hugged and love school.

It is time that parents come together and back the school.

We talk about bullying and that starts with adults not with children.  Children only learn what they’ve seen.

It is time that professionals are treated as professionals and paid as professionals.

Every time we use to have a bomb threat I said I wanted combat pay. Well it was no joke. It is also no joke to go into your classroom with the bomb squad as I did being the first teacher allowed back in the building and open your drawers to see if there is anything different in your room. I wasn’t train for that. I started pulling draws to look and I looked at the bomb squad and said what am I doing they were barely sliding drawers open. I didn’t have protective gear on they did. I was a single mother and my kids needed me. I said I’m out of here this is your job.

That was back in 1988. No one had been trained for it but there we were. No  one should have to go through it. That was the year I stopped having Christmas trees in my classroom with unknown packages under them.

Christmas is a time for celebrating the birth of Christ. It is a time to be thankful for what we have. Although it will be difficult those parents who have lost children should celebrate by being thankful for the years they had that special child. Celebrate the memories and the gift of life. That is what they would want you to do.

I pray for all those in this small town to find peace, tranquility and love of their fellow neighbors.

May God Bless you all and help you through not only this holiday season but the years to come.

 

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