PARENTS: Let’s Connect The Dots – And Lead

by Sarah Fisher and Trish Morille, Mothers of Two, Co-Founders of +Works

We are two of countless mothers on our streets, in our towns, in our school communities across our country and indeed around the world, grieving from the deepest place in our hearts for the loss of so many lives in Friday’s tragic massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

We mourn the deaths of an unthinkable six brave educators and twenty precious six- and seven-year-olds, all of their lives snuffed out in effect by our society’s inability to reach a lost 20-year-old before he reached for his mother’s semi-automatic rifle.

It’s time we connect the dots and consider that we, as a people, have failed those who died by failing to connect with yet another lost young man and also by failing to reach a reasonable legal consensus on semi-automatic weapons.

What can we do as mothers, as parents all over America, as we muster the courage today to give calm, honest answers to our children about this unspeakable horror? What do our principals and teachers and school staffers do now, they who must lead us all back to a New Normal — and bravely so, as we worry about the chances of this happening again.

Here is what we can do. We can begin by honestly examining the untenable situation we have created as a society that accepts and even celebrates gratuitous violence on our TV and movie screens, on the Internet, in our music, in our young and teenaged children’s video games, and frankly in our everyday lives. We can speak up as parents and say, “Not in my house.”

We can lead, one kitchen table at at time.

We can look honestly at the grievous lack of awareness, understanding, and acknowledgement of serious mental illness in our homes, schools, and communities — and demand more attention, more resources, and perhaps most important, better science.

We can lead, one kitchen table at a time.

We can look at our American gun culture for what it has become — an egregious path of minimal resistance to the senseless murder of innocent people, including our precious children. We can say to the people who put their “right” to bear semi-automatic weapons above our right as a community to live safely: “Enough.”

This loss of innocent life will remain unbearably senseless if and only if we fail to make sense of it by learning from it — and by seeing to it that we, as a society, make meaningful progress and don’t repeat our mistakes. Because we of course know that this is not just about Newtown, Connecticut. This societal failure stretches back and around the hearts that remain broken in Aurora, Colorado, and in Tuscon, Arizona, and at Virginia Tech, and at Columbine, to name a few affected cities and towns. And we know, without bold action on the part of parents, educators, medical and mental health professionals, and legislators, that this can and will happen again.

When will we find the courage summoned by heroes Dawn Hochsprung and Victoria Soto, who died selflessly protecting their students? When will we finally find our voices on these critical issues? When, dear fellow parents, will we finally connect the dots — and lead — one kitchen table at a time?