In the wake of the Newtown school killings, I feel enraged, deflated, helpless, sad... it's hard to get excited or motivated to do much of anything today. It's difficult to find purpose in normal tasks, thinking of what the families and friends of the victims along with those surviving children and their families are going through. It is personally traumatic and tragic for everyone, but I believe it hits teachers or anyone who normally works with kids especially hard.
Plus I feel guilty about the joy we will soon experience as our kids travel
home for the holidays, and all the nostalgia and good feelings that brings.
Strange how tragedies like this both stress and strengthen the bonds we
feel for each other. Humans are indeed... very human.
The paradox is that the same human passions, emotions and drives can somehow
become so completely unhinged, causing a very few fellow humans to reach
unimaginable conclusions about lives and relationships, so much so that they
can contemplate, let alone act in such heinous and unspeakable ways. We
recoil in horror at that thought, and yet they are, at least on some basic
level, one of us. So we ask, "Why? How could that
As humans we are programmed to search for patterns, make connections, seek
explanations. When none are found to be satisfactory, we search for
cause, we assign blame. We need a conclusion before we can put it behind
us and begin to move on. We are unwilling to accept that there may be no
real explanation. That sometimes terrible, unspeakable tragedy is visited
upon us, or our fellow humans. That what makes us human can also make us
Can that be prevented? Can it be anticipated? Can the causal agents
be counted, analyzed, quantified? Can we be warned, can we change society
and culture to make sure this never happens again? If only we could
know... we all want so desperately to be able to go back in time, to intervene
in some way, to rescue, to save.
Who's to say that hasn't already happened, many times? We would hear of
none, except for the closest calls. Perhaps this does happen, more often
than we realize. Perhaps a word, or a smile. It could be that
simple... a lesson taught many years ago, a path that was ever so slightly
changed, because someone cared enough to ask, to talk, to laugh.
No one can know if this is true, but I like to think it is. It makes me
feel better somehow, that we all can be teachers, that we all can reach out,
make a tiny difference. Who knows, we may have each saved a life.
And even if it's not true, it's worth the effort, isn't it? If not
for who we may save, then for ourselves. Not a crusade, just a thought, a
principle. Make a tiny difference each day... you never know.
I feel a little better now.