If you have children or small children in your life, you have undoubtedly heard that question. I grew up in Southern Indiana, and we would drive to Florida each Christmas to visit my grandparents. We had barely passed into Kentucky when someone asked the question that parents dread. . . When are we gonna get there? I still remember the collective groan from my parents.
This question rings in my head as I think of the indescribable events of last week at Newtown, Connecticut.
Everyone is asking ‘Why’, but do we really want to know?
Let me clarify my intentions behind the question. I believe the answer, if ever proven, may prove invaluable towards the prevention of future tragedies. I believe there are many professionals directly involved in the case who both want and need to know why someone would do this. Do most of us really want to know why? Am I prepared for the answer? Probably not.
Maybe the question we should ask is ‘What are we going to change’ instead of ‘When are we going to get an answer’?
I am not given to writing political statements, and this post will be no different. I have no intention of debating gun laws in my blog. I do have some thoughts about what each of us can do.
A friend asked what could be done to prevent this from happening again. While I don’t have the answer to that, I did have some thoughts that I hope serve as gentle reminders.
- Be kind. Perhaps you have already heard of Ann Curry’s idea for twenty-six acts of kindness. Ann took to her twitter account to post this: “Imagine if all of us committed to 20 mitvahs/acts of kindness to honor each child lost in Newtown. I’m in. If you are RT #20Acts,” The suggestion followed next to make it 26 acts of kindness, then 28. You get the idea. Inspire others. Share what you are doing, and why.
- Be compassionate. The definition for compassionate is feeling or showing sympathy and concern for others. Synonyms include adjectives such as merciful or tender-hearted. Who can you show mercy to today?
- Stop picking fights – you don’t know what battle someone else is fighting. Are you one of those who defines everything as a healthy debate? We have lively debates in our home. I am not advocating complacency. A coworker once shared some simple words of wisdom with me: Pick your battles. Consider the other side of the story. Acknowledge that you don’t have all the facts. Ask yourself, ‘Is this worth fighting for?’ Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is not. Know the difference and act accordingly.
- Stop bullying – in person, via the internet, by gossip. Be proactive. If you see someone being treated in a cruel manner, stand up for them. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken”.
- Take people seriously if you hear something. A man recently had planned a mass shooting similar to what occurred in Aurora, Colorado. His mother recognized several warning signs and turned him in. One person had these comments about her decision. “I think it takes a tremendous amount of courage for a family member to put the safety of others ahead of the concern for her loved one. She needs to be commended for that. Not everybody has been as forthcoming. She very well may have saved him and someone else as well and she needs to be recognized for the courage that took.”
- Be the change you want to see.
- Pray. Pray faithfully. Pray for people you don’t like. Pray for the one who stands out. Pray.