Reflecting on the Sandy Hook Tragedy

It is incredible how we can be going about our day and then something happens to give us a jolt that reminds us how precious life really is. Friday morning, in a picturesque small town in Connecticut that is exactly what happened. I know the entire world has been watching in shock as the impact of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School unfolds. Over the weekend, I couldn’t help but keep watching the same news stories over and over again to try and make sense of such a horrific act. Unfortunately, I still sit with more questions than answers.

As someone who has worked with children for over 16 years, it is especially upsetting to know that so many of the victims were children. I can’t help but think of how they were robbed of a lifetime of possibilities, of dreams they will never have the chance to realize. One of the things I appreciate most as an arts and leadership educator is the opportunity we have to inspire dreams in young people and teach them the tools to make those dreams a reality.

In moments of such terrible sadness we are reminded of the power of our choices in life. We all have a great capacity to positively impact the lives of others, but often we get wrapped up in our busy lives and that becomes our excuse not to make an extra effort. As we remember the six brave teachers who heroically protected their young students, let us not forget the incredible power we have as adults to make a difference in the life of a child.

I believe children have boundless potential just waiting for guidance to set them on a path to dream fulfillment and success. As you ponder the events of Friday morning, I urge you to make some extra effort to inspire, motivate and guide a child in your life.

Last night during the memorial service in Newtown, President Obama said, “There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have — for our children… We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.” I agree with the President’s sentiment whole-heartedly, and I know, as a society we can do more than we are doing.

Please join me in sending thoughts of comfort and prayer to everyone in the Newtown community. While it is difficult to understand why such a senseless tragedy occurred, I think it is important that we learn from it. As we remember the twenty children who lost a lifetime of possibilities, let us not forget that it is our choices that shape our future and the future of those around us.


For a transcript of the President’s speech visit: