Love and Other Helpers

 

The post I’d planned for today just doesn’t make sense right now. Hearing the news from Colorado this morning was devastating. We haven’t been watching television or even listening to the news on the radio, so at least explaining the tragedy to Sam hasn’t been a concern today.

In moments when we feel powerless, we each gravitate to our own coping mechanisms. My first instinct is simple – love and appreciate my family and friends. My second impulse is think about what small actions, within my circle of influence, could somehow help.

In the field of early childhood education we focus a lot of energy on the social and emotional development of children. They’ve become such buzzwords in the profession, that they often cease to be meaningful. The Aurora shootings are a reminder that we need to faithfully and constantly tune in to the social and emotional well-being of people of all ages in our communities. We can’t support social and emotional competence from birth to age five and then call it good. It’s a life-long process, and there are ups and downs for all of us. We all need friends, no matter our age, no matter our circumstances. I think that I’m pretty good at supporting kids in this area, but I’m not that great at connecting with adults in my community (always that busy-ness excuse).

In that vein, I’m setting a few small goals for myself, to try to connect and build community. To celebrate and share more love. If you’re inspired to do something similar, please share.

  1. Invite friends over for dinner more often
  2. Get to know more people on our block (and not just the ones with kids)
  3. Ahem. Actually pick up my phone when it rings. Sorry to everyone that I’ve been avoiding for the last decade or so πŸ™‚

 

Of course there are many Denver-area organizations that are also acceptingΒ tangible donations.

Finally, I know this quote has been making the rounds on-line today, but I think it’s worth sharing again.

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ― Fred Rogers

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Love and Other Helpers

  1. Elise, as usual your insight is spot on. As collegues we discuss this topic as an “early childhood” topic that does not get its’ due. Prior to this latest sensless tragedy I have been thinking about the importance of mental health and how the nurture aspect can play a positive role in any negative “nature” or inherited mental illness. Having a personal connection to a family member with a less then stable phyche I have be reading, have investigated and I am sensitive to this topic. As I have read the background about the number of men and boys (yes, overwhelmingly so) who are the perpetrators in such multi-victim (or intended as such) violent episodes I am struck by the fact they were decribed as “loaners” but more dihearteningly as “forgettable” or just “not memorable” (exact wording many have used to describe James Holms). Why are we as families, neighbors, educators, religious, etc. not more aware of those who we have regular short or long tterm sustained connects not paying more attention and reaching out to those among us who are “loaners”? We don’t need to become a best friends but taking an active interest, sharing a thought, initiating an attentive conversation, even at leate extending an invivitation to ‘join’ whether taken up or not might make all the difference in that person’s. As for how society treats those mentally ill…that is for another blog. I, too, am going to make more of an effort to build more of community around my shere of influence. Thanks, Elise.

    • Thanks Lucy – we should talk about this more… I brought it up a little at today’s event (especially during the headline writing exercise), but the conversation kept steering back to statistics and TCAP scores πŸ™‚

  2. Hi again,
    Just wanted to let you know I posted a link to this post on my “important blog” : ) I also forwarded it via email to over 30 friends and family. Thank you, as always, Elise.

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