Newtown Tragedy: How My Parenting Changed Forever for the Better.

Image

I’ve been struggling to find the words to express what I feel for the families of Newtown.  Then my friend Magnolia Ripkin, an exceptionally talented writer and editor, wrote a piece on behalf of our Blunt Mom blogging group, which expressed exactly what is in my heart. I urge you to read and share it.

Many of us try to find meaning in what happened or at least, in our own way, do something so that somehow these precious lives lost were not entirely in vain. For me this has manifested itself in two ways. First, despite being far from home, I’ve tried to participate and put pressure on legislators to create common sense gun laws. We haven’t succeeded yet, but we will. I have no doubt about this.

The second happened at a much more personal level. Bedtime should be such a precious and intimate moment, but frequently, for so many of us, the end of a long day coupled with tired kids can be a recipe for tension, lost patience and ill feelings. Too often, I would try to rush through the process and even uttering less than kind words to my kids in a desperate attempt to just get them to sleep. The night Newtown happened, I caught myself doing the same and remembered that despite my girls acting like right little horrors, 26 families and in particular 20 parents of young children would do anything to get the chance to be tucking their child safe at home. I vowed never to take bedtime for granted again.

That night I stopped and took a deep breath. I tried to take in and appreciate every second of our nightly routine instead of rushing through it. I thought about how I would say goodnight if I knew I wasn’t to see them again the next day -and then realized that I couldn’t realistically cram all of us in one of the small Ikea kid beds for the entire night. So extended hugs, kisses, and whispers were shared. I remembered to tell them I love them and not just in my rote ‘night night’ voice but while being 100% in the moment and engaged with them.

I still get tired and cranky. I still fumble and stumble at bedtime but now I am much better at catching it early and hitting the reset button. And as I do this,  my heart hopes that Charlotte Bacon , Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino , Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hocksprung, Madeleine Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker , Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, and  Allison Wyatt know that I am a much better parent thanks to them, that I will never forget them, that I’ll keep fighting on behalf of their families and I bid them sweet dreams along with my own two angels.

We Are Not So Different: Why China’s Recent Hit and Run Tragedy Shouldn’t Shock You

Disclaimer: Viewers beware. Link to article also features graphic video of incident. You can stop the video in order to read article if needed.

A few days ago, a toddler was struck by two vehicles on a road in China and eventually died because no one stopped to help.

My initial reaction? Total shock followed by immediate outrage coupled with an attitude of “this would never happen where I come from.” It would seem from at least one article in the Washington Post that I wasn’t the only one thinking this was a cultural issue. A case where an American woman jumped to rescue a drowning Chinese woman was cited as proof that Westerners aren’t so selfish and interested only in their own success. (Unless of course they are part of the 1%. Viva OccupyWallStreet!)

Not only could this happen at “home”, it has. I am using “home” here to denote my cultural background in a broad sense. I am a Westerner albeit living in South East Asia. I can’t help but spend time comparing East vs. West: why do they keep their kids up so late? How can they treat their helpers that way? Why can’t kids in the West respect their elders? Why is the East so much more welcoming of children?

This post was written for In Culture Parent. To continue reading please click here.