I have been sitting on this Connecticut horror for days.
On Friday I was at least able to mutter these words on my personal Facebook page:
“What if your smile, hello, or kind words made the difference for someone who felt lonely and unloved? What if you choose to say something nice to someone – something that makes them feel good about themselves – instead of being brash and saying everything you think? What if choosing to be kind is the thing that makes the difference in the life of someone who is on the edge? Be kind.”
And – at the time – I believed that was the issue at its root. Until this morning when I read this blog:
Specifically, these words: “Children are not complicated. What they need more than anything–more than video games and iPhones, even–is to feel loved by the people around them. Unconditionally loved, especially by their parents. And yet very few children ever experience enough Real Love to qualify as anything close to a consistent pattern. So these children grow up in horrifying emotional pain–every bit as real and disabling as physical pain–all their lives.”
Now let’s be clear. This isn’t a beautiful read. It isn’t a moving, inspirational read. It’s actually kind of a hard read, if we read it with an honest view of our own parenting style in mind. It is extremely real and extraordinary important. Because in truth, the accessibility to guns is NOT what has changed in this country since these awful things have started happening. But instead what has changed is that the culture of Love and anti-violence – that used to be prevalent in our country – has taken a drastically different back seat to selfishness and anger.
We, as parents, don’t love our spouses and parent our children the way our grandparents did. Marriages and families (much like the rest of our lives) have become disposable. Stability and a feeling of real connection – in families and relationships – are becoming more and more rare. Our society has become a culture of selfishness, where we have lost much of our compassion and ability to love. And children need love. Nothing more than to feel loved. Children who grow up missing love, instead feel pain. And in the absence of love… the strike out in some way.
I’m not preaching here. This – at least, at certain times in my motherhood – applies to me too, and that’s the truth.
And don’t think that I’m neglecting the subject of Faith in all of this. Each person has their own set of beliefs, and while I am aware of that, my beliefs make it glaringly obvious to me that children who are taught of God’s unconditional LOVE for them, feel that Love through their parents as well.
It isn’t just being kind to strangers and friends and others in our communities. It’s being selfless – in our community, yes, but even more importantly, in our homes.* It’s loving our kids with Real – UNCONDITIONAL – Love. Maybe if more kids grow up feeling REAL, unconditional LOVE, these things will become less frequent.
We all have work to do.
In the mean time, I just pray. Because, truthfully, sometimes there are those cases – which honestly, this Connecticut one seems to me to be – where disorders and mental illness causes a human being to become very un-human. It prevents them from being able to make social or emotional connections with people and does not allow them to feel. And when a person can’t feel and can’t connect… what can we do? But pray.
* Now, how do we do that AND still make room for taking care of ourselves?