I have a confession. I have made the very conscious decision to bury my head in the sand. I can’t read another devastating news story about a shooting or a rape or babies being injured or killed. I can’t handle it. I can’t stomach it. I don’t have the mental capacity to understand why or how this is happening and what it all means. Each gruesome headline leaves me with that horrible feeling. The feeling of a sadness that starts deep in my gut and slowly crawls up my throat. And then it stays there. Stuck in my throat and lodged in my brain.
These headlines leave me feeling helpless and lost. So I close my laptop, turn off the TV or throw down my phone. I shut out the violent reality that surrounds us and instead concentrate on my tiny space in this world.
And this is how I survive. This is how I get by. Right or wrong, it’s what I do. And at first, it made me feel guilty. I felt guilty for not being able to stomach the gory details, for not expressing my thoughts or condolenses aloud. I used to want to know everything, understand why, talk about how we can make things better, but now, now I just don’t. Because it seems that none of those things make a difference.
And then a couple months ago Ev told me story about how she saw a girl she didn’t know on the playground crying alone and so she went up to her and asked her if she was ok.
And that was it. That was when I realized that while I can’t change big, big things, I can change little, big things.
What if we took some of that time away from rehashing these devastating stories and instead invested that time on raising good humans? Spending more time teaching and, more importantly, loving our children. Showing them how to be a good human by being one ourselves. Showing them how to love. Showing them how to be observant of their surroundings. How to stand up for themselves and for one another. How to love themselves. How a smile or a thank you or holding a door or lending a hand can make an impact. Teaching them to notice those in need of help. Teaching them to be grateful.
I am very aware that this outtake may seem naive and far-fetched to most, but it’s what I can control and what you can control, too. So for now I will continue to redirect the time that may have been spent reading the horrifying details of another tragedy and instead I will spend it focusing on raising two good humans as well as trying to be one myself.