Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Grown-Up Christmas Wish...In Memory of The Kids

I've thought of so many ways to begin this post because there are so many thoughts I want to tie together.  In the immortal words of Julie Andrews, let's start at the very beginning.  We all know it's been a little over 48 hours since we heard the sickening (literally) news of the senseless killings of innocents in Norwalk, CT.  The eldest of these was 56 years old, the majority, students, 6-and 7-year olds.  I must confess, as I read the story this morning to verify these numbers, I find it difficult to read as my eyes welled with tears yet again.  I don't mean to dwell on it or tear back the scab that is beginning to form as we heal, however we must.  We must not forget these children and educators, for if we do, we ourselves become numb to the gravity of the situation.  Make no mistake - this is a grave situation.  Make no mistake here, either - I am not talking about gun control, mental illness, the safety of our schools.  No, I am talking in broader strokes about our inhumanity toward each other as people.  By the way, my 'Wish' I mentioned is at the end of the post.  It's in the form of a challenge and I think you'll understand.

Fortunately, a friend posted something on Facebook that gave me the inspiration for this entry.  They simply said that they had been a recipient of a random act of kindness.  Someone in a Starbucks drive-thru, a man in the car just ahead of her's, paid for her coffee and bought her a cookie.  He then drove off.  Purely random, incredible, unsolicited kindness.  Sadly, we look at actions such as this as extraordinary.  I think that, in itself, shows where we are headed as a society.  It cost him little, yet made a huge impact.  It needs to happen more frequently.

 As I sat here this morning drinking my coffee, I watched commercials on television and thought about the shopping yet to be done.  Then, almost as quickly, the images and stories came flooding back.  Yes, many of us are sitting here with family today, yet there are 26 people whose funerals are being planned.  The majority of these are children.  That is simply not natural and something no parent should have to endure.  I imagine many of our own children were squeezed, kissed, hugged, and cried over in the past 48 hours than they had been in the past 48 days.  We need to do that more frequently, too.  I refuse to mention the name of the perpetrator of these acts.  If the national media wants to impress me, I will gladly sit and listen about each and every child that was killed.  If you want to give me a story, tell of the heroics of 27-year old Victoria Soto, one of the teachers, who died protecting her students.  Tell me about the principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who died as she tried to stop the gunman.  I do not care why he did it, nor do I care to hear anything more of him.  Let the specialists figure out those facts, but for God's sake, stop making these people household names.  You're giving them what they wanted.  Stop it.  Now.

I used to be concerned, in my younger years, about what people would think if I said or did certain things or acted a certain way.  What I mean by that is, many of us (especially of the male gender) have been conditioned to tell our spouses and our families we love them.  It is noticeably rare that you hear two heterosexual males say, "I love you," to a friend.  Oh, how we've conditioned ourselves.  At this point, I have to interject that I have always been surprised and proud of how my son has handled this.  It's never fazed him.  When I was younger, I (like many of us, I think) hated my parents being around for fear they would embarrass me in front of my friends.  He, however, has never hesitated to tell his mother, father, and friends he loves them, even when he was in school.  Of course, he was the starting center on the football team.  Me, not so much.  No one was going to make fun of him.  Still, I have come to realize that what happened Friday could happen to any of us at any time.  Do you really want to be the one that left something unsaid to those that matter?  As I said, those were in my younger years.  I will gladly tell those that matter, especially as they have been in my life for many years, that they matter and I love them.  What's that?  You say you can't say it to another male friend?  Get over yourself - they matter, let them know how much.

Eldridge Cleaver once said, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."  Edmund Burke also said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."  I choose think we, as a whole, are good.  I also think we need to do something.  Again, we'll have the gun control, mental health, safety conversations, trust me.  We all know they will come as they always do.  That brings to mind another famous quote by Albert Einstein, who said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."  We've continued to do the same things, repeatedly, and we've see the same result.  Am I the only one that thinks we might need to attack the problem from another angle?  Am I the only person that shakes their head when we hear these stories, thinks that we really need to address the problem, yet assumes someone else will take care of it?  Many of us do the same thing as we are too engrossed in our daily lives to try to make a real difference.  Knowing the demands placed on our time, as well as realizing our current efforts are not enough, we've got to find something...anything...that will allow us to affect change while not taxing our already-stressed schedules.  Therein lies the impetus for my wish.

Many of you are friends on Facebook.  I have to admit, there are many 'stories' and posts on that site that say, "Click if you hate cancer, scroll if you don't."  Please, people - we all hate cancer.  It's ridiculous.  "Click if you support our troops, scroll if they mean nothing to you."  "Click if you believe in God, keep scrolling if you don't."  I see many of these posts and, while we may or may not 'click', I'm going to challenge you to do something that will, hopefully, go viral and make a difference.  Here it is:

My Grown-Up Christmas wish if for people to remember this quote - "Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world.  You know why?  It's the only thing that ever has."  We seek change, yet know not how to go about it.  I'd like to see people share this with as many others as possible, then commit to a single random act of kindness.  To do this, daily, would make a huge impact, don't you think?  I can do it, my daughter or son can do it, my family can do it...and we will see a little change.  Think, though, of the amazing impact we can have if just the people reading this would do it.  How much time, and at what cost, did it take for someone to simply buy a cup of coffee for someone else?  We can all 'pay it forward' and we owe it to ourselves and, more importantly, our children to make the commitment.

There it is - my Christmas wish.  If no more children are lost due to senseless, depraved acts of violence, we win.  If teachers can go into a classroom and educate our children without having to shield them from harm, we win.  If we all get to the point where we actually show love, caring, kindness, and consideration to win.  Big.  We don't know how many Christmases we have left in our lives - none of us does - and this might be the solution that we haven't tried yet.  What we've been doing isn't working.  Don't we owe it to ourselves to at least try?  Thank you for taking the time to read and share this.  Thank you for doing something nice for someone you don't know.  Most importantly, thank you for beings friends.  Merry Christmas to all...and God bless us every one.

Until next time................

1 comment:

  1. Great posting Dave, we learn history so it supposedly does not repeat itself or so that is what I was taught growing up. But as I have had a half century plus in this world all I have ever seen is history repeating itself. We learn nothing in this country to help each other, all we hear about is how could something like this happen again.

    Once school starts all doors should be locked and no one entering unless left in by someone on the inside. This is not a hard thing to do and have guards on the doors at all time. We don't mind doing this for one man in this country who is grown but we will not do it for our children or young adults.

    They can take the guns from the people but if this man wanted to do the horrific act he did; he would have used something else like a knife, bat, stick and then what, are we going to ban everything. Why is it always the guns fault and not the human that was in control of it.

    Society has excepted single parents and the courts keep giving some of these parents another chance and another chance and the one being corrupted and victomized is the child and when they grow up to do what this man did, no one wants to see it or understand it.

    I have done kindness all my life and get questioned from friends and family on why I would do this for some people. I am not here to judge them, if I am going to help or give to them out of the kindness of my heart I have no right to ask them why or what they need things for. God grant me the serenty to change the things I can.

    All our God wants from all of us is unconditional love for all. I pray for all the lost souls in CT and for the help of healing the families involved, but I also pray for man who commited this act and his family, for I know not his footsteps in his short life. If this were my son that committed this horrific act I would also ask the question, why?

    God Bless us everyone and Merry Christmas to all!