I have been constantly drawn to my television news stations and internet news reports throughout the weekend. I wanted to write my thoughts as a way to come to grips with the feelings I have experienced in reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy that occurred last Friday. No other school shooting or other public venue shooting has affected me as much as this one has. I think this is true for several reasons.
One, I am a mother of an 8 year old, 6 year old and 2 year old. As I look at my own sweet 6 year old daughter, I can't help but think of those 20 children. I thank God that I have my child and my heart bleeds for those who no longer have them to hold. Second, I was most recently a teacher of 6 and 7 year old children. Although we prepare for such incidents, the fact that these teachers were brave heroes and did all they could to protect and shelter their students in the face of the reality of the situation is astounding. Third, I have been seeking positions as a school administrator and I feel a great burden of the responsibility to protect the school and children that I will lead at some point.
No other incident has touched me so deeply and so personally and yet been so far from me. As a Utahn and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I also feel a connection to the family of Emilie Parker. Her family recently relocated to Connecticut from Utah and I have personally been touched by the family's strength and faith in God. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who sent his children, humankind, to the earth to assume bodies and to learn and grow in choice. Each of those sweet, innocent children will have a special place in heaven made for them, as will their teachers.
My reflection on this incident has made me more aware of the time I spend with my loved ones and the way I treat all that I come in contact with. I pledge to "Try a little harder to be a little better." (Gordon B. Hinckley), especially when it comes to how I treat others. I will be a little more understanding, a little more compassionate and a little less judgmental. May each of us pledge to stand a little brighter for good and be a beacon of light to all those around us. Let us perhaps remember the reason we celebrate Christmas is Christ. Through his life gave us an exemplar of how to live our lives and in his death and resurrection he brought the possibility of life after death to each of us.
God bless each of you as teachers and parents in the endeavors of educating our dear little ones.
Image from Melonheadz Illustrating