the nest

the nest

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


2013 has been a suckish year.  I just looked over my last few posts and am tired of hearing myself complain!  I really have a pretty amazing life, but this year has been filled with grief, loss, illness and stress.  I've spent the year comforting, crying with, caring for and yelling at the people I love the most.  Each "beginning" I say "fresh start!" Beginning of Spring, beginning of summer, beginning of school... Each one has been tainted by grief.  As someone who generally dreads the shortening days, I look forward to the end of this year and a fresh beginning in 2014.

Our own personal grief and loss is one thing.  We can talk about it, process it, explain it.  People get sick, people die.  It's what happens.  All we can do is share memories and care for those left behind. It is a sad, but normal part of life.

What is difficult to wrap my brain around is the seemingly increasing grief and loss in the world.  Every time I turn on the radio, tv or computer, there's been another shooting or bombing.  Another mother is mourning.  Another father is weeping.  Mass shootings continue.  After each one, attention ramps up, but those with the guns and money are louder and more persistent and we go back to our lives while those directly affected try to pick up the pieces.  The amount of money spent on protecting the "rights" of gun owners, while we fight for every dollar for education, healthcare and even food, is outrageous.  We don't even realize how many gun deaths since Sandy Hook have happened.

We say that the bombings and massacres in the Middle East aren't OUR problem.  It's those "others."  We ignore them until it directly affects us and then we blame them, pushing us all further into "us" and "them."  Encouraging "them" to hate us.  They are DIFFERENT.  When a beautiful, smart young woman who happens to be an American of Indian descent, much like I'm an American of Norwegian descent, garners an obscene flurry of racist, hateful comments simply by being crowned Miss America, it's easy to see why the world might hate us.  WE ARE HATEFUL TO OUR OWN CITIZENS.  I'm ashamed.


I'm 45 years old and I struggle with trying to understand the hate and ugliness in the world.  My youngest is 14 and experiences waves of sadness that sometimes threaten to carry her away.  I can only assume that her personal sadness about losing Auntie Ellen and her Grandpa this year are made more intense by the sadness, grief and pain she sees in the world.  She is too old to shelter, but too young to understand. I can't explain it and I can't hide it or ignore it.


I can only choose to move forward.  We must TEACH our children to choose love and compassion.  We must TEACH them that caring for others is how they will save the world.  We must SHOW them that bullies don't win.  There is so much going on in schools around bullying, but where do we think it starts?  When do we pay as much attention to the grown-up bullies in our communities and governments?  The NRA?  BULLIES.  Tyrants and Dictators around the world?  BULLIES.
Children learn what they see and live and when they see the bullies getting the power and control, they learn that to be in charge you must be a bully too.


This Saturday, Sept. 21st is the International Day of Peace.  I will spend it with colleagues, friends, family and strangers, at Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT.  From 10 am -1 pm we will be together.


We will TEACH our children that PEACE AND LOVE WIN.

We will TEACH our children that to change the world for the better we must COME TOGETHER.

We will TEACH our children that there is HOPE, but they must be STRONG and VOCAL.

We can STEP UP and be louder and more persistent about PEACE and LOVE or we can go on about our lives, shaking our heads, wringing our hangs and participating in memorials, while those with the guns and money and power allow our world to be destroyed by hate and violence.

What will you choose?

"It is not enough to teach children how to read, write and count. Education has to cultivate mutual respect for others and the world in which we live, and help people forge more just, inclusive and peaceful societies."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon 

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