I have been struggling since Friday, trying to make some, any kind of sense of the barbaric (definition: savagely cruel, exceedingly brutal, primitive) school shooting in Connecticut that killed so many innocent women and children. I have read; I have researched; I have tracked down articles from experts; and I have listened to numerous conversations with others who are struggling too. A clinical social worker at my roots, I am always interested in the why? – why do people do what they do, why are they allowed to or forbidden to, and why do we respond to those actions in the way we do. All of it holds interest to me, but nothing interests me more than the role of the human heart. At my core I believe the heart holds the key to everything.
The situation we currently face, that being the 31 school shootings in the U.S. since Columbine (only 14 total in the rest of the world combined) leaves me questioning what we must do, because clearly, we MUST do something. I have read intense conversations about gun control, strong statements about our denial as a nation that we even have this problem, staunch declarations about our weak mental health system, and desperate pleas from mothers dealing with children who have mental and emotional disorders. All these areas of concern warrant consideration in my opinion. We have to look at everything and figure out the best strategy for change. We have to create an effective plan. But here is my concern, even if we truly accept that we have a national problem, if we change our gun laws in some way, or improve our mental health system, we are still going to have a root problem. We are not taking care of each other at a heart level – and we don’t know how.
The events of Friday were horrific and unthinkable, but the truth is, it was just the tip of the iceberg. Acts of violence, hate crimes, abuse, intimidation, slander, deception, bullying, and pervasive disrespect for other humans is our daily diet as a nation. We have a greater enemy than we even thought. Somehow we have lost a sense of responsibility for each other, we have become cheap, indifferent, and expendable to each other like so many paper plates and napkins – we are generally numb to each other. When an epic tragedy happens like the one Friday, we rouse from our slumber, raise our fists, spill our outrage, heave a collective sigh, and shed tears together. I firmly believe we really do care in the moment – but how soon do we return to our numbness? How soon do we transition to the next inane thing?
Here is my concern – if we do not get our hearts back, we will implode as a culture. NO, I do not think it is too late, but I do think that everything around us is trying to get our attention and WE HAVE A CHOICE TO IGNORE THE SIGNS OR DO SOMETHING. The whole point of the SaveGoodness blog is to turn your attention toward your heart – to help you discover things that will help you tend your own “nest” as we say. It takes time. It takes focus and intent – but it can be done. And I happen to believe that there are many people who can still be saved from the numbness that has become our cultural norm.
Let’s begin by considering the condition of our own hearts. Decide that you want to break out of the numbness and return to a person who feels and cares. Yes, it is risky and painful, but it is the only way to stop from becoming a zombie. The following is a simple but powerful video series about a teacher who trains his students to feel and then to care for each other. It is just one example of what life from the heart looks like. Watch how he behaves with the children, how respect is formed, how love and acceptance are given, then think about the little ways you can begin this kind of interaction in your own home – with your kids and your spouse or friends. Let’s honor the babies we lost Friday in the greatest way possible – let’s commit to love and respect each other. It is the way of Goodness.
I URGE you to take the time to watch all 5 video segments. You will not believe how this story ends. This is the first segment:
What is the answer to our survival? How can we learn from the Sandy Hook school shooting?