I know we've come a long way,
We're changing day to day,
But tell me, where do the children play?
Tonight, I had the privilege of being part of a panel discussion that was hosted by the Sewanhaka Central High School District PTA. It was a great discussion.
We discussed the horrors of Sandy Hook, bullying and our children.
As a father of three beautiful children, I cannot fathom the agony of the families who lost their child. The suffering of these families and the senseless killing of the innocents far eclipse any drop of understanding of the depth of the mental illness of the gunmen of Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech and Columbine. I apologize to my God, but I can't muster understanding or forgiveness of what occurred.
I can, however, do whatever I can, as an elected official, a father and a neighbor to prevent these senseless acts of violence.
While I have no psychological training, I would like to post some random thoughts and observations that are not based on studies nor supported by empirical data.
We must learn to say no to our children. Our world cannot sustain the mentality of yes at any cost. We don't deserve flat screen Tvs, designer clothes, exotic vacations at any cost. We deserve the opportunity to work. With work, we can choose to spend our money, save or invest.
We are not what we wear, what we drive or where we live. We are who we are and who we choose to become. The rest are simply clothes, cars and houses.
We must return to a time where it was ok to discipline. Where teachers and police officers were respected and even feared. Where respect modeled our behavior and disciplined us to behave like human Beings.
Life is tough at times. The struggle to interact and succeed at being human isn't always easy. The internet is no substitute for human interaction. You cannot hug your child on Facebook.
Go out and play. Shut off the iPhone, the iPod and the computer. Know what it feels to catch a ball, ride a bike or swing on a swing. When you fall from your bike, you will get hurt and bruised. Get up. The pain fades. The exhilaration of getting up again will stay with you forever.
Learn how to do long division, memorize your times tables and look up words in the dictionary. Learn how to think and not just push buttons.
Don't google the answers to life. Live it instead.
It's ok to have family values. It's better yet to live your life according to those very same values.
Shut off the TV and read. Every night. When you're finished reading say a short but honest prayer to the God of your choice.
Most importantly, we must change the ground rules. The world we live in has challenges that we never faced before. It also has opportunities we could never grab.
We all deserve a chance at those opportunities. I don't care what the color of our skin is, whether we have little money or the name of our God.
Seize the opportunity to be human. Seize the moment.
For real. Not in virtual reality. Recognize that technology is a tool, not a master.
Lastly, reach out to the children who are suffering and who need our help. Connect to them. Save them from the pain and despair of isolation. They need us to connect to them for they can't connect to us.
By doing that, you may have saved many lives, and improved the life you have chosen for yourself.
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