On the one year anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I can’t help but go back to the devastation I felt as the events unfolded right here in a neighboring town in Connecticut. Beyond empathizing with all of the people involved as a human being, I, too, am a teacher and a parent. When tragedy like this strikes, I can’t help but imagine myself in their shoes, and God willing I will never have to. Francois Mauriac, in his forward to Night by Elie Weisel, wrote (and I paraphrase) that sometimes the tragedies we witness affect us most deeply. I’ve often thought, since this event, and before following Columbine and other school tragedies, how would I react? I feel each of my school children are, in some way, an extension of my family. I would protect them. I have no doubt about that.
When bad strikes, I try to find the good. At school, we’ve gone through several lock down drills addressing this very situation, something that we’d done before, but somehow since Sandy Hook is so close to home, it became more meaningful. Because something like this, we learned, COULD happen in our town.
After this tragedy struck, many families called society to come to action through deeds of kindness. I visited the town soon after the event and was awed by the outpouring of love and support from around the world. In my own way, I set up an ACTS OF KINDNESS jar where, throughout the year, I recorded my own deeds of kindness with the goal of committing to at least one such act for every life that perished. I exceeded my goal, and this year I will challenge myself to do more because our world needs us to be kinder to one another, more empathetic to one another’s struggles and obstacles.
I came across this video I want to share with anyone who hasn’t seen it. It’s made by the mom of Emilie Parker, one of the victims of Sandy Hook. Awed by her strong faith in God and people inspires me, as I hope it will inspire you:
May God bless the angels who perished on this day one year ago and their families and loved ones. ❤