We Need To Talk About Connecticut


Capturing the grief that is so overwhelming we slump over without strength.

Capturing the grief that is so overwhelming we slump over without strength.

This post is going to be hard to write. I have too much to say and not enough writing ability to say it the way I think it. I’m heartbroken, but worse, I feel frustrated and helpless.

Why helpless?

Helpless because this is going to happen again and again. The variables that go into a situation where an individual decides to kill innocent people as some kind of statement are too diverse for there to be an easy fix. If you look at Facebook, of course, you’ll find all sorts of solutions.

  • better gun control
  • more people carrying guns
  • better parenting
  • better school security
  • more religion in schools
  • less violent video games and media

I could go on and on.

It’s easy to put a firm statement out there about what needs to happen so this doesn’t happen again. It’s human nature. If we think we know the solution then we can control the problem, and who wouldn’t want to feel like they have control over this problem? We never want to think of ourselves or our kids in that kind of mortal danger. We’d be paralyzed if we thought about all of the “what ifs” every day.

The primary issue here is not gun control, although I do believe it has a role to play, and it is certainly not about school prayer. Seriously, if you are trying to tell me that God needs to teach us a lesson by having someone kill 6 & 7 year olds and their teachers, then you need to take a hard look at the God you believe in.

WTF? Do people who post this think of the ramifications of what this actually means???

WTF? Do people who post this think of the ramifications of what this actually means???

The issue here is mental illness, and the lack of resources available to help individuals and families who are dealing with it. Even though it seems like there is an overabundance of little pills for all kinds of mental problems like depression and anxiety there is actually very little help for and understanding of major psychiatric issues and personality disorders. Add into that, the difficulty in getting services for psychiatric disorders and the stigma surrounding mental illness, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Psychosis

Addressing mental illness is definitely a step in the right direction, but it is fraught with difficulties. What do we do with a child who displays sociopathic signs? Lock them up and throw away the key…just in case? You may be thinking that, yes, that is exactly what we need to do to keep everyone safe, but what if it was your child? They haven’t done anything yet. You love them, and you’re scared of them at the same time. Do you condemn them to an institution? Do you hope for the best? Who do you turn to for help when everyone looks at you strangely when your child acts out? When everyone blames you because that is easier than admitting that mental illness is random?

I am not ashamed to admit that many members of my family have struggled with varying degrees of mental illness. Some have gotten better with intervention, some haven’t. Some refuse intervention, but they are adults and that is their right, I guess. Unlike physical illness, mental illness is still shrouded in shame and secrecy. It’s interesting to me how no one blames a parent if their kid gets leukemia, but if the child is diagnosed as bipolar then the parents must have done something to cause it. This type of judgmental attitude needs to change.

nutter

As it stands, I don’t know what the answer is, unless it is to say that there is no one answer, but opening up about mental illness and how to treat it is a big step in the right direction.

To quote President Obama from his Newtown Speech:

We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.

compassion1

If you are a reader, I would like to suggest you read “We Need To Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver. It is a gripping and chilling book about a mother whose son has committed a mass murder at his high school. The story deals with the aftermath she must face but also tells the story of how she knew there was something wrong with him from early childhood and the desperation she feels to understand and change it.

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From the blogosphere, I think everyone needs to read this. It is currently making the rounds on Facebook under the title: “I am Adam Lanza’s Mom

http://anarchistsoccermom.blogspot.com/

Written by a mom who has a son who, by all accounts could grow up to be another name in the news. As a mother I am so sad for her, but also want to be sure no one ever gets hurt by her son. I hope that this family gets the help they need so they can all be at peace. A needed perspective from the other side of the story.

Finally, I wanted to confess, I hadn’t cried about this news story since it broke. I was just to stunned to process it properly. Watching the President’s speech from Newtown, got me choked up, until he read the names of those precious babies who were snatched so violently from this world. Then I was sobbing, for the fear they must have felt, and for the anguish their parents are feeling now. And yes, I even feel a great deal of compassion for the shooter’s father and brother. They are left alone, without answers and I imagine a great deal of guilt.

Thank you for making it this far. There are a lot of blogs being written right now on this subject. If you feel the way I feel, please like or comment, but most of all share. Get the word out and drown some of the noise out there on the internet.

Now, if you’re a parent go and give your kid an extra squeeze. They will look at you like you’re crazy (at least mine did) but that is because they are blissfully ignorant of the fragility of life, and that is part of what makes them beautiful and precious.

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How To Damage Your Child in Two Easy Steps


I’m all about saving time and doing things as quickly and easily as possible so today’s parenting lesson is brought to you by Pastor Sean Harris. In his Sunday sermon he was speaking in support of North Carolina’s Amendment 1 which seeks to define marriage as between one man and one woman. I have no idea what the title of his sermon was, but I’ll just call it “How To Damage Your Child in Two Easy Steps”.

Step 1: Vigilantly watch your sons to see if they’re acting “girlie”, and watch your daughters to see if they’re acting “butch”.

Step 2: When you notice those actions, give your kid a smack.

Awesome.

In case you think I am stretching his words or twisting them in some way, here is a recording of a portion of his actual sermon:

Jesus wept.

Hatred is an awful thing, but it’s even worse coming from the pulpit because like the wolf in sheep’s clothing, it cloaks hate with “God’s perfect plan for humanity”. It wasn’t all that long ago that preachers were using the bible to justify slavery and segregation and to decry inter-racial marriage. Thankfully those types of sermons are, for the most part, not taking place today and that gives me hope for the future for everyone in the LGBT community.

I’ve never understood why homosexuality is considered a worse sin than so many others; it makes absolutely no sense to me at all. Even people who interpret biblical teachings pretty literally have discarded many of the rules and regulations (seen anyone stoned lately? animal sacrifice?), yet they hang on to the prohibitions against homosexuality and use them to justify discrimination (Now, whether those passages actually refer to homosexuality practiced in a loving relationship is very much up for debate, but that’s a whole other post).

Even worse is this idea that you can discern from the actions of a young child whether or not they’re gay and then train it out of them. As if every little boy who tries on his mom’s high heels or every little girl who’d rather wear jeans then dresses is going to be gay in their adult life. It’s ridiculous…..or rather, you’d think it was ridiculous but apparently there are a good many folks out there who believe this stuff.

What are we so afraid of that we can’t let our children play and pretend and explore their world without judgement or labels? As a parent I can’t comprehend not loving my children no matter what their sexuality. In fact, to me, the best part of being a parent is discovering, year by year, who your child really is, what their personality is like, and how they move through the world.

One of my favorite blogs is called Raising My Rainbow. The mom who writes it has a son who loves Barbies, and Disney Princesses, and she loves her son…maybe he’s gay, maybe he’s not. Right now he’s just a little boy who thankfully has awesome parents who want him to be who he is. That is what I wish could be for all children.

If you are interested in reading Raising My Rainbow’s response to Pastor Harris’s sermon, it is re-blogged in the article below, and as always I thank you for reading my little blog. If you liked it, don’t forget to pass it along; the more people get involved, the sooner change will come!

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