On The Shootings in Oregon

I remember my grandmother telling about the “olden days” and being charmed and fascinated by the simplicity of her life. Everything went a bit slower, and people socialized on their porches. Now in the age category of baby boomers, I have caught myself in conversations of similar themes. “The world used to be a safer place.” When we were kids, summer meant playing outside in a world without boundaries. We came in for food and went back out to play flashlight tag and catch fireflies until bedtime. We walked to school even as first graders without adult supervision. We always felt safe.

Today’s world is that same world. We are the ones who have changed. We have lost the rules. We have tipped our core values to such a degree that right and wrong are blurred. We can point to all sorts of evidence and even reasons for this shift: violence in movies and television, lack of gun control, the suppression of expression that signals conflicting views of religion and basic belief systems. We seem to be against each other instead of together.

But even while we see danger all around us in this new society, we must understand that we are not safe in our own skin until we ensure that our emotional and mental states are sound. We need to hit PAUSE and reset our own safety buttons so that we are stable. Just like our moms tell us, we make others behave a certain way, but we do control our own choices. What I’m suggesting begins with the individual, connects to our families, and extends throughout our friendships, acquaintances, communities, and country. We have so many more reasons to embrace one another than to blame, shut off, and kill.

Find your children and hold them tightly. Be their good example. Love them and make them feel safe. Teach them to express their emotions in a healthy way and teach them they are not alone in the world. Teach them how to ask for help. Then let each of us rally to our own responsibility as human beings to live as though goodness outweighs the bad, that it may become so.