I'm still speechless after the shootings in Newtown last Friday. I have nothing to offer but sadness.
Here are a couple of things that have helped me:
Mr. Rogers' wonderful wisdom:
"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." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."And Brene Brown's insights and observations:
Prayer and activism are not mutually exclusive.
For many of us they are inextricably connected. We don’t need to criticize those who are praying. You don’t have to pray or even believe in prayer, but be respectful (or at least quiet).
Politics is easier than grief.
To skip over feeling and rush to policy-making dehumanizes the process and weakens policy.
Blame is simply the discharging of pain and discomfort.
It has nothing to do with accountability. Accountability requires long, difficult, respectful conversations. Blame fizzles out with rage, where accountability is in for the long haul.
Self-righteousness is a sign of fear and uncertainty.
It has nothing to do with activism or change. The loudest and most vitriolic among us are often the most afraid. As my friend Harriet Lerner says, “Change requires listening with same level of passion that we feel when we speak.”
You can't shame a nation into changing any more than you can shame a person into changing.I'm going to be quiet for a bit longer now. And listening. What has helped you in the past few days?
Shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, violent behaviors than it is to be the cure. We need courage, vulnerability, hard work, empathy, integrity (and a little grace wouldn't hurt).