Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Meaningful Change

Over the past few days I've been filled with a vast range of emotions- sadness, anger, and fear (the same as all of you, I'm sure) regarding the elementary school tragedy in Connecticut.

At first I wanted to write right away about what I was feeling but I couldn't get the tears to stop. It's because of my reactions like this that I normally never watch the news. I try my best to stay updated online with headlines here and there, but most of the times I find it way too sad. In the midst of doing my best process everything, I listened to President Obama's speech to the nation. Hearing him talk to us not only as our President but as a parent, reassured me that I wasn't the only one who felt like this was hitting close to home. 

Kelle Hampton's blog did a beautiful job today of putting to words much of what I've been feeling as well as some of the ways we as a nation can begin the restoration. 

I also wanted to share some excerpts from Obama's speech that he gave at a memorial service yesterday.....I have always been drawn to words of strength and hope and really admire the way this speech provides us with some reassurance for meaningful change to come.

"But we, as a nation, we are left with some hard questions. Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around. With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves - our child - is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice. And every parent knows there is nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet, we also know that with that child’s very first step, and each step after that, they are separating from us; that we won’t - that we can’t always be there for them. They’ll suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments. And we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.
"And we know we can’t do this by ourselves. It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself. That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation. And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.
“This is our first task - caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. 
“We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law - no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.
"But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that - then surely we have an obligation to try.

"There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have - for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child’s embrace - that is true. The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves, and binds us to something larger - we know that’s what matters. We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.


  1. I too, just can't write about this. Watching Obama give this speech was heart wrenching, as seeing a man cry--and a leader at that, brings me to tears immediately.

  2. I hope that his and the Congress's actions match his words in the upcoming session. The upswell in popular support for gun control ought to encourage all to act to ban all semiautomatic weapon sales.