Parenting beyond the tragedy

December 20, 2012 | Posted in: Early Learners, Elementary, High School, Middle Years

We were torn about our planned approach to this edition of Parent Today. The light-hearted, fun stories we had lined up to lead into the holiday break seemed suddenly inappropriate amid the horror that took place in a little town that we might never have heard of except for the devastation brought by one troubled young man.

This festive season was suddenly and unwillingly darkened – not just for the community of Newtown, Conn., but for the nation as a whole.

As parents, we collectively mourn shattered innocence, lives senselessly lost. We hug our children tighter, hold them longer, say “I love you” with greater intensity.

What happened in Connecticut last Friday reminds us of the fragility of life. It reminds us that what is wrapped in the packages under the tree doesn’t really matter as much as the time spent with those opening them.

We realize that some children may be affected by this tragedy more than others, for longer than others, and we refer you to a post (“When the News Gets Scary”) that we have trotted out too many times since it first appeared following the February shootings of students in an Ohio high school.

We also recognize that, in spite of the Connecticut tragedy, this time of year symbolizes wonder and hope for many. The reality is that children in our lives may not be as profoundly affected by this event as their parents. Psychologists remind us that it is important to maintain normalcy in the lives of our children, to go about our routines in the aftermath of “scary news.”

So we move forward and approach this edition in the most thoughtful way we can. We celebrate the moments we have and are grateful for this very moment. In doing so, we honor the senseless deaths that happen every day, by living and loving to the fullest.