A couple weeks ago, I posted on Facebook,
The anniversary of Sandy Hook is fast approaching and they’re already warning us of the media frenzy sure to descend. It’s so hard on the children of this community. If I can ask nothing else, I’d ask that you not support the news vultures by clamoring to watch the shows and specials.
No one here has forgotten. No one has “moved on.” But people ARE trying to rediscover joy and breathe in peace. That should not be too much to ask.
It remains true.
If there’s one thing I would ask of you, it’s that you not feed the media by hurrying to watch their shows and specials. They are, frankly, in large part gratuitous. And there’s something rather sickening about being entertained by another’s tragedy. This remains true at any time of year, but it seems especially cruel so near the holidays.
Nonetheless, what happened a year ago in Sandy Hook cannot be undone. It is a part of our history.
Those in this nearby community are still wiping physical tears of our neighbors, friends, and pew-mates at church. It’s sometimes all we can do. But we also know that many of you still remember and still care and are not media vultures.
And some of you might want to know what, if anything, you can do.
Rather than sitting sadly in front of the screen as the news outlets reveal how the Sandy Hook community is doing today, might I suggest you try one of the following?
- Say a prayer. Or two. Or a rosary full. These families, this school, the whole town, really, could use your prayers. Strong and determined they may be, but prayer never hurts.
- Thank your teachers. Acknowledge these amazing men and women who are, let’s face it, charged with tremendous responsibility as we hand our children off to them five days a week.
- Write a letter. Those Sandy Hook students and teachers? They still head out the door each day! A friendly note full of kindness and maybe kid drawings is always welcome. You can post an online message right here or you can find the address of their new school there, too.
- Advocate for simple changes that make a difference. The one thing that experts have said over and over again MAY have helped the teachers would have been to ensure substitutes were given keys to the classroom. This is not a complicated or expensive fix. Check with your district and speak up to help increase safety in a simple, and non-controversial, way.
- Pray for the clergy. Over the course of two days, the monsignor at the local Catholic church said eight funerals for children. Eight. Right before Christmas. The strength required for the clergy who supported these families and honored their losses cannot be overstated.
- Donate your time, talents, or treasure. When we ache and hurt and feel helpless, often the best thing to do is just GIVE. Giving is proactive and productive and helps meet the needs of others while filling a very real void inside us.
- Turn off the TV and light a candle. You don’t need to watch the “One Year Later” special. You know what happened. I’m telling you that what’s happening right now is what you’d probably suspect– people still hurt, deeply, but they’re also courageously living their lives. Quietly reflect on the tremendous loss. Doing that honors their memory more than watching the tube.
- Be kind to strangers. I know that sounds trite, but, truly, be kind. You never know what someone has been through. This time of year is, clearly, hard around here. But our corner of Connecticut doesn’t exclusive rights to suffering. Be kinder than you think you need to be. The odds you’ll regret it are slim.
- Stop fighting about guns. Please. For the love. For the next week or so, can we not fight about gun rights? Because, honestly, it’s not the point. I have my opinion. You have yours. That’s okay. We can talk about it sometime if you want. But… not now.
- Hug your kids. Every chance you get. Catch them in a random squeeze just because you can. The future can be more tenuous than we like to believe, so shower them in affection. Most likely, they’ll love it. But, even if they balk, it’ll be good for your soul.