Be the helper. Every day.

December 17, 2012

In the wake of Friday’s events, every parent in America – nay, the world – was squeezing their babe(s) tighter than before. This tragedy affected so many people in incredible ways. Whether questioning faith, safety, or government, it struck the core of humankind. It dredged up unknown feelings of hate and fear within us that we didn’t know were there. This holiday season will have a somber yet grateful tone as we mourn the lost innocence of children, both in Sandy Hook and beyond, and appreciate our friends and families more than we did on Thursday. The questions of why and how may never be answered nor understood, but we must accept that life is precious despite age, race, or community, and that we can also affect change on smaller levels to have meaning and be present in the everyday.

Sandy Hook rocked the boat for our general sense of safety and security. If an affluent community’s elementary school can be a target, then… whose community is safe? This sense of insecurity is what people around the world face each day throughout their lifetime. As Americans, we should be grateful for our freedoms, but we should also understand that it requires co-dependence within each community for citizens to care for one another. This tragedy may or may not affect the Second Amendment, or provide better mental health diagnoses and treatment, or increase safety and security measures everywhere. But we can do more than hope for safety in our neighborhoods and for our children. We can “pay it forward,” because a small act of kindness can rekindle our faith in people. The other day I saw a jogger stop to pick up debris in public landscaping, heard a friend gush about their good fortune of a free cup of coffee from the person ahead (and doing the same for another), and a chorus of coffee shop goers singing happy birthday to someone (I really like coffee). Simple and often overlooked, these are the small moments in my day that give me pause to be thankful for the “helpers,” and peace to know that these are the people that make even the worst of times a little bit better.

Rules of Friendship by Three Sixty Press
Editor’s Note 4/5/13: Much thanks to Mitko for offering a different perspective on this sensitive issue with this reference article.

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