I’m not sure how many of you heard President Obama’s speech on Tuesday regarding gun violence, but it is definitely worth a listen. Whether you agree with our president on everything or not, one can’t help but feel compelled to do something about what’s going on in our country after his words. I don’t know what the answers are about gun control, but I do know I want a better place for my daughter.
It’s only been seven weeks since I wrote the post My Heart Hurts and sadly, it still does. The first mass shooting that comes to my mind was Columbine in 1999, which was when I was a sophomore in high school. At that time I knew some about what happened, but over time I learned more. Most of what I learned was about the victims and the community that took care of mending the broken hearts. I don’t recall learning much about the shooters, and I’m thankful for that. In the years since Columbine, we all know that mass shootings have been on the rise. What has also been on the rise is the publicity about those committing these atrocities. I want to hear more about the people who had their life cut short, and the amazing person they were! I want their stories to be able to live on, even when they cannot. This might not put an end to someone committing an awful crime, but this might take away the fame and glory that they’re seeking.
More than anything I do know that I want a better world for your children and mine. I don’t want my daughter to experience lockdown drills to prepare her for if/when the need may arise. I know of parents who talked to their children about alternate plans instead of waiting during a lockdown, but having a specific plan of action to protect themselves in other ways. This is not the conversation we should have to have with our babies, whether they are 4, 8, or 17!
No matter where we may stand on the issue of guns, gun ownership and increased regulations, we have to do something. How can we as an advanced society allow atrocities to continue happening? Even if increased regulations could not have prevented previous mass shootings, it does not mean that it won’t help in the future. I don’t know what this should look like and I don’t have all the answers to such a big issue. I do hope that despite differences, our electedrepresentatives can work together to figure out a solution. Taking all guns away from law abiding Americans is not the answer. Taking guns always from those with mental illness in order to protect themselves and others may be. But this is not the end of what we need to do. Real conversation, prayer, and discernment does need to happen. If you could do something to keep your children safe, wouldn’t you do it?
I know that at this time of year, everyone has set or is scrambling to set their New Year’s resolutions. I also know that many have shared that they’re not one to set resolutions. Others have said that they don’t set resolutions, but say that they set intentions. I definitely think that last group is really doing the same as the first and just trying to call it something different. I am definitely one that would fall in the second group, because as I shared last week I just disappoint myself by not following through on them. At the end of 2014 learned about setting inspirational passwords, and I feel that has been more powerful than resolutions I could set.
These inspirational passwords are meant to be a word or phrase to help keep you focused on what’s most important or needed in your life. It’s critical that these passwords be used on accounts you will use all the time, such as at work or your phone. In 2015 I had two words that remained the most important for me, and they were grace and peace. Each of these words applied to a different aspect of my life, but were what I really needed to make it through the year.
I am someone who can be REALLY hard on themselves about almost everything. I can find something to criticize myself about in all aspects of my life. Nothing is off limits from my own self-judgement…my parenting, being a spouse, home maintenance, volunteer work, and my job. Looking at that list it doesn’t leave much room for grace, which I knew I so desperately needed to give myself.
Honest confession here, I can get very irritated with what I perceive to be a lack of effort by others or not doing what they should be doing. I may not be perfect at what I do, but I try to give it my best. I get widely frustrated with others not trying to do the same. People are not necessarily going to change because I think they should, but I can change my response. Rather than perpetuate this way of thinking, I knew I had to change the way I thought about people. To do this I needed to find peace in that moment of irritation and give them grace.
Being honest about my struggle last year is not an easy thing for this self-critical gal. But I can say that these inspirational passwords helped. This may seem a little woo-woo to some, and great to other. All I know is that they helped me, and I hope that they help you. I can say that grace was a great thing to give myself all year, and I will continue to give myself more grace this year. I won’t share my word(s) for 2016 now for obvious security reasons, but look forward to sharing with you later how it goes.
There is so much pain and suffering in the world, and my heart hurts.
In most of my professional life I have worked with our young members of society (birth to 18 years old). In most recent years, my work has primarily been with those in middle school and high school…born between 1997 – 2004. With the recent tragedy in Paris, bombing in Beirut, and air strikes on ISIS, and refusal to accept Syrian refugees, my heart is breaking for this generation.
These students were born in or on the cusp of a post-9/11 world. For the entirety (or close to) of their lives, our country has been at war. We’ve been told that we are waging a war on terror. But honestly, what does that even mean? Who is defining what or who that terror is.
I’m no longer concerned with the finger pointing of who is responsible or the cause. I want peace. I want my daughter to live in a different world from my students, and know a world not at war. I want love and dialogue to be the negotiation technique, rather than sanctions and air strikes. I want our men and women in the armed forces to be home with their loved ones rather than be deployed in more locations than we could possibly count.
My heart breaks for Paris, but more than anything it breaks for our world.