On the morning of Friday, December 14th, I kissed our girls goodbye as my husband tucked them in the car to go to school. He stood in the crowd of parents and listened to Imagination Mover Rich sing happily to a crowd of enthusiastic children at Morning Meeting. Such days are typical at their school – celebrating community through music and the creative arts. After the children recited the Number One Rule – “Be Kind” — my husband held the small little hand of his kindergarten child, walked her to her classroom, gave her a kiss and sent her off for a day of exploration and discovery with her friends. It was like any other day.
Until it wasn’t.
Monday I drove our girls to school and listened to the steady rhythm of the guitar at Morning Meeting playing “You Are My Sunshine.” The mood was somber, the sky was gray and this time the children and parents wore different expressions. The students waved their hands and sang along, most of them unaware of the heaviness of the day. The parents choked back tears, stared blankly or held on to younger siblings in their arms a little more tightly.
The days will turn ordinary again, but I hope that 12/14 will be a day we never forget. I hope that we look into the eyes of a teacher with gratitude and humility, and acknowledge his or her bravery and servitude. They have and they will die for our children.
I hope that in the pictures of the beautiful children who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary, we see our own children and realize that we have “firsts” with our children, not “lasts”. I hope that instead of being plagued by “what if’s”, that we will ponder “what now?” I hope that 12/14 will be a call to action, not for politicians, lobbyists or healthcare executives, but for parents.
Maybe, we’ll be more mindful.
My “what now” is simple. I am committing to twenty mindful moments in memory of the twenty children who died in Connecticut and you can join me. Being emotionally available and present with our children builds positive relationships, secure attachment, social competence and emotional intelligence. The best thing we can give to our children is time, attention and affection. I hope. Because it’s the only thing that will keep us moving forward, believing in the inherent goodness of all people.