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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch
  • Finding purpose in pain

  • I talked to my daughter this past weekend and I was fearful that the recent school violence would affect her in a serious way.
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  • I talked to my daughter this past weekend and I was fearful that the recent school violence would affect her in a serious way.
     
    Her heart is almost too tender to bear this hurtful, sometimes violent world. Maddie has a very compassionate heart. She has never liked to see others hurt. She would rather bare the burden of pain than watch someone she loves suffer.
     
    I asked her if she had heard about the school shooting. She said she had, but she wasn’t worried. I was thankful that she obviously didn’t know the extent of what had taken place and fearful she would find out.
     
    On Sunday I spoke to her again and she expressed anxiety about school safety. I told her that no matter what, school is still the safest place to be. I told her to pay attention during the lock-down drills and that her teacher would keep her safe.
     
    How do we assure our children and grandchildren, who have heard reports on the television, radio and internet, that they will be safe at school? What do we say to put our minds at ease when we don’t know what to think? How can we help our children when their security has been shattered in a violent way?
     
    Every child in the world goes to school. Our President spoke to us that day the violence happened and although he appeared sad, he offered calm reassurance. As parents we need to offer the same.
     
    The shattered community of Newtown, Conn. has come together over this tragedy. Let’s come together before we have to come to this. Let’s go home tonight and love our kids. Let’s have discussions about this–there is so much to be said, but so much to learn.
     
    For many of us, this is a society we are unfamiliar with.
     
    There are some events like this that strike down deep. We try to bring from the pain a purpose. Almost 30 people were killed Dec. 14. How can we find purpose in that?
     
    Our purpose should be to keep our children safe.
     
    As we try to make sense of an explanation that makes no sense, let’s put this into perspective. There are bad things that happen all over the world, but overall, the world is a safe place. We can’t live our lives in fear looking over our shoulders every day.
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    While our hearts are broken for the students who lost their lives, for the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives, husbands and survivors of the tragedy–there will never be a good answer. Hundreds of thousands of kids go to school and come home safely. But kids, administration and staff have to take preparedness seriously. Rest assured, that happens here in Sleepy Eye.
    We may be far from Newtown, but as Americans, Newtown is our neighborhood. The residents of Newtown do not grieve alone.
     
    People want to place blame. They say it is a problem with guns, crime, schools and parenting. What’s really to blame for this, in my opinion, is an empty human heart.
     
    Everyday in the national news we watch great tragedies unfold around the world. Helping friends and neighbors and donating to charities such as the red kettles at Christmas time have become what society now calls what heroes are made of.
     
    In doing what we ought to do, we deserve no praise.
     
    We are living our lives without purpose, meaning and moral absolutes. We choose darkness mistakenly seeing it as freedom.
     
    It isn’t an issue about taking God out of schools. God is not found in the activities or rules sanctioned by schools. God is in the hearts of human beings. Where is God during this tragedy? He is grieving with us.
     
    What’s done is done–there are no do-overs. We cannot take back the hurt. What we CAN do is turn the page and move forward with a new found appreciation for our schools and our families.
     

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