What to Do Now? Teach Kindness, Work to Curb Violence, and Hug Each Other

There are so many valuable words coming from my writing friends and colleagues in the Sandy Hook shooting’s aftermath that I could sit at the computer, posting links to my Facebook page all day long. Here are three I’d like to share with you:

Fellow Patheos blogger and my good friend Amy Julia Becker, like me, has a first grader, the same age as the precious children murdered last Friday. In this piece for The Atlantic, she contemplates the human tendency, evident even in first grade, to categorize and judge other people. And she wonders how things might change if we teach our children to welcome those who are different.

Another friend and fellow writer, LaVonne Neff, starts out her post-Newtown reflections by writing:

This is not a blog post about gun control. Everything that can possibly be said about that subject, pro or con, has already been said millions of times since Friday. We are talking too much, too soon. In the words of my rabbi, “Judaism teaches that when there is nothing to say we should say nothing….Sometimes only silence gives voice to what has happened.” We Americans should all be sitting shiva.

I stand by my own decision to speak up about guns as an initial reaction to Newtown. But LaVonne goes on to outline various factors, other than guns, that correlate with high homicide rates. A violent society is not made by guns alone.

At Sabbath in the Suburbs, MaryAnn McKibben Dana ponders how we go about our daily routines in the face of heartbreaking loss. While working for peace and kindness and against violence is one type of response, she calls on us to simply continue living those daily routines, but with extra attention given to caring for our most intimate companions.

 

About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at http://ellenpainterdollar.com for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.


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