If you're like me, you're probably waking up a bit richer this morning after raking in some dough for Christmas. Woo hoo, right? And if you're also like me, you've probably already plotting exactly how and where to spend that loot. I'll admit mine is usually gone within a week or so on some carefully planned shoes, clothes, and home decor purchases!
But in the wake of the Sandy Hook, I, like many others, was left with a strong sense of wanting to do something to help. And in the last week or so I have seen such wonderful tributes, both organized and purely individual, that I was personally inspired to get inv olved with some of these efforts. You may have seen some of these as well, but I felt like I should share them in case you haven't and are still searching for a way to do something, especially with a little bit of extra money burning a hole in your pocket...
The first is the one I actually participated in. A friend of mine and her sister were organizing an effort via Facebook to plant trees in honor of the victims. The company which they selected had two farms: one in Montana and one in Florida. Within days, 52 trees had been purchased...one in the name of each victim in each of the two forests. I purchased mine in Victoria Soto's name (the first grade teacher) and will be planted in Florida. I LOVE the idea that her tree, with all its beauty and strength, will grow forever alongside those of her students (and colleagues) she loved so much.
I have also seen and heard several stories of people carrying out 26 Random Acts of Kindness in memory of the 26 lives lost. I had seen this on Facebook first, but it turns out Ann Curry (formerly of the "Today Show") launched the movement via Twitter.
From things as simple (and free!) as taking up a neighbor's trash can to buying a Target cashier a gift card during the busy holiday season, I think this is such a beautiful tribute to the beautiful young lives that were lost.
And the final movement of which I have heard about is completely free, but equally, and maybe even more so, important. As our country continues to move on from the tragedy of that day, there have been and will continue to be countless debates on gun control, mental health, and the role of our violent popular culture. I was watching one exchange on tv where the commentator mentioned that regardless of which laws are ultimately passed, the power is in our hands as parents. If we each prevent our children, especially our young boys, from watching the violent tv shows and playing the violent video games, not only will they not be exposed and desensitized to the violence, but the industry will also feel a money pinch and therefore respond appropriately with less violence on the market (hopefully anyway). Truthfully, I always assumed I would keep my boys from those things, but now I believe it to be a priority. So I'm making the vow...my boys will not watch violent movies or play violent video games. Period.
In the hours and days following Sandy Hook, it immediately became apparent to me that something had to be done...in the memory of the victims, to move our country in a more positive direction, to heal. I don't think anything will ever be enough, but I'm hoping these few tributes will help in some way.