The whole nation is in mourning for all those who lost their lives in Newtown CT. And rightly so. But, what about those 6 and 7 year olds who survived the ordeal, and their brothers and sisters? How can we help them process what happened, so their minds are not permanently crippled by the memories of that day? And what about the entire nation’s children who, having seen it all on TV, will be taking their buses to their own schools next week? What are we to teach them? Are we going to talk about ‘evil’ and instill fear into them, or can we use this as an opportunity to teach and demonstrate forgiveness, compassion and empathy?
I have been struck by the fact that no one is referring to the shooter as evil or monstrous, and expressions of anger and blame seem to be markedly absent in the outpourings of grief. One of the grieving fathers even found it in his heart to reach out to Adam Lanzer’s family with love and support.
So, let’s use this as an opportunity to teach our children to find compassion in their hearts for people like Adam who didn’t seem to be able to fit in. In particular, during these next few days while the topic is still hot, let’s refocus the conversation and talk to our own 6 or 7 year olds everywhere about forgiving the troubled boy whose pain and anguish pushed him over the edge. It will help them process the event in a healthy way and to open their hearts. It will go some way to giving them the answer to the “Why” question. Taking this approach might lead these children to be a little less cruel and rejecting, when they get to high school, to those who are “not one of them.” It might also, hopefully, reduce the amount of faceless bullying that occurs on Facebook and other social media, much of which leads to severe alienation and even suicide among our teenagers.
For us adults, there is a tool that we can use to help shift the energy around this. It is called the Radical Transformation Worksheet, and it was designed specifically for this kind of event. If you want to do something to change the energy around the situation and shift the consciousness that this incident is reflecting back to us all, then go to my membership site at http://radicalforgiveness.com/amember/. Register, if you haven’t already, and then download one of these worksheets under Free Stuff and fill it out. I will also do one of these worksheets this week myself, citing this incident to provide a model.