Monday, December 17, 2012

Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School: God Bless the Families

This picture of the sign just yards away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School is worth a thousand words.  Much has been written about the causes of this tragedy and our country will necessarily go through a season of introspection, and self evaluation.  President Obama promised as much last night in his Presidential Address at Newtown, CT. 

In the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, I encourage all of our Truro families to take the following steps in the days and weeks ahead.

First, talk and listen to your children.  Mostly listen.  They will be seeing images and endless chatter from the media.  They will be hearing from school officials and from other children.  What they need most is availability from their parents.  Sometime a question will come at an inopportune time.  Be ready to turn your undivided attention to them when they are ready to talk.  Not everyone processes information the same way or at the same pace, especially when the information is emotionally charged.  Respect the particular way your child processes highly charged information and be an active listener. 

Second, turn the conversations, when appropriate, to God.  The Lord is always the silent partner in all of our conversations with our children.  Acknowledge his presence and seek his guidance as you walk with your child (or your friend) through this troubling event (actually, series of events in 2012).

Third, exercise and eat well.  Life is stressful in North America and especially so during the holiday season.  One of the best ways to recalibrate and detox is to spend time outside, exercising the body.  Most of us already suffer from nature-deficiency.  Emotional trauma adds to our stress.  Reconnecting with our bodies and creation is therapeutic.

Fourth, reflect on this event and ask the Lord to show you how you might respond to the pathological violence in our society.  First, we need to educate ourselves about what is actually happening to our society.  Usually broad accusations are not helpful (i.e. "we need to get all the guns off the street" or "we need to get all the crazy people off the streets, etc) because they are not accurate.  Like most social pathologies, there are several causes not one.

Finally, keep your life and that of your family deeply rooted in Christ, his word and his community, the Church.  We are fast approaching the festival of the Incarnation (we have six Christmas Eve and Christmas services next week).  Please make it a priority to worship together as a family knowing the ultimate cure of our social illness still lies in the One whose coming we celebrate, "God with us."   

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