Sunday, December 16, 2012
Together, We Are All We've Got
Every one of us is fighting a battle. Regardless of size, scope or magnitude, most days are uphill. We struggle to accomplish everyday tasks. We try diligently to make a positive impact on those around us. We want our work to be meaningful.
It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. It is easy to forget that we are a small piece of a vibrant, moving globe. We are important because we are a member of a greater community. Together, we are all we've got.
We understand just how human we are when our community is disrupted.
Disrupted is an understatement for the events that happened Friday. In the instant that we learned of the tragic series of events unfolding in CT, we were all transparent. We saw ourselves as part of a community. We felt helpless. We felt sad. We felt vulnerable.
In the weeks and months that pass, we will partake in conversations that attempt to answer the 'why' of this tragedy. Some of us will only trust the conversation with our closest friends while others will turn to social networks to vet their solutions.
As with many of you, I saw my Facebook feed fill. People expressed their deep condolences. People wanted answers. People suggested solutions. Very different solutions. They covered the spectrum: mental illness, gun control, violence in the media, a lack of compassion. Some begged for the killers name to be kept from the public to prevent him from reaping the publicity he sought, while others needed a face and name to fully comprehend the event.
We, as individuals, are made up of our experiences. We view the world through the lives that we have lived and the tools that we have developed to survive. We will view the solutions to the problems that plague us through this same lens.
I ask of you. I beg of you. Practice compassion when engaging in these conversations. These are the solutions to the safety of our children and a nation that is desperately seeking calm. Express gratitude for those who partake in this sensitive conversation, because together, we are all we've got.
What I am trying to say is best done in an example:
This post came across my Facebook feed this weekend:
"I just saw a god dammed article saying the elementary school shooting would have been PREVENTED if the teachers had guns!!!!!! I cant tell you how ignorant, stupid, and back woods that is. To say the absence of guns is the problem, is really the problem here!!!!!!!!!!"
When we see things like this, regardless of how we feel, we get the chance to listen. We get to experience the world through another's point of view. We get to experience the world through another's life experiences. While the solution being criticized may seem extreme to some, it is the viewpoint of an individual in our community. And together, we are all we've got.
We get a chance to hear. To listen. To digest. Here, we get to say, "I appreciate that someone is looking for solutions to keeping our children safe", regardless of their approach. We get to say, "yes, we have common ground. We are both interested in disarming threats that plague our society". We get to say, "all of us need to come together to find a solution to these problems that leave our hearts empty". We get to show compassion before we express our differences.
Before I express my feeling on the thought of teachers concealing weapons, I first must say that I truly appreciate the spectrum of ideas being brought to the table. I appreciate this idea, because I never would have thought of such an approach. I appreciate this contribution to the dialogue because I know that I don't have the answers and in order to find a solution, we must be brave enough to share our truths.
When I think about teachers with concealed guns, I hurt for this generation and future generations of children. We hire teacher because they have a love for children. We love their enthusiasm for shaping our youth into productive members of society. We don't hire teachers because they are expert marksmen. However, this idea makes me realize that there is a need for teachers to protect their students and keep our children safe.
Now, we get to engage in conversation. We get to say, "yes, it is important for teachers to feel empowered. I suggest that we have not only a system for visitors entering the school from the front door, but from the individual classroom as well." We get to say, "yes, if teachers have some sort of self defense or mediation training, they can better protect our children." We get to say, "thank you for caring enough to put your opinions out for the world to ponder because together, we are all we've got."
My heart hurts for those in CT. My heart hurts for all of us. Please, listen with compassion and share with courage. We must engage in a meaningful conversation in order to heal.
Together, we are all we've got.