Connecticut Governor Daniel P. Malloy has proposed a moment of silence – along with the ringing of church bells 26 times across Connecticut and possibly elsewhere at 9:40 AM, Friday, December 21, 2012 as a tribute to each life taken at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
In addition to the ringing of bells and the moment of silence, I propose that everyone not only in Connecticut but across America on Friday take the time to “Pray it Forward” – by praying for whatever each of us feels will show our respect for those who died and well as for those who lived during this tragedy.
Here are some thoughts I put together that might give others some areas to focus on during the moment of silence while the bells are ringing:
- Pray for those who lost loved ones – whether they be parents, siblings or friends of the 20 little children and the 6 educators.
- Pray for those individuals who had children in Sandy Hook Elementary School who survived the shooting that day and got to take them home. I worry that some of these parents and children are agonizing as to why they survived while others did not.
- Pray for our elected officials so they will come to some understanding as to what procedures and laws need to be passed and implemented that would minimize the possibility of future mass shootings.
- Pray that those who fiercely defend the right to bear arms might come to the realization that some changes are necessary to make America a safer place. A few modest changes to our gun laws would not infringe on the basic rights of gun owners to bear arms.
- Pray for an end to the divisiveness in our country that criticizes our educational system and our educators. Keep in mind that these educators – including Administrators, teachers, and aides chose individually and collectively to protect as many kids as possible – some lunged at the shooter while others chose to stand in harms way to protect the kids from the shooter. How many of us would have done the same – I wonder.
- Pray that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School will remain the last mass shooting we will ever witness.
- Pray that all individuals suffering with mental health issues will choose to seek professional help in resolving their issues in lieu of choosing and participating in a violent response to end their own personal pain.
- Include your own personal prayers that you feel might help everyone deal with what happened at Sandy Hook last Friday.
Don’t be afraid of the moment of silence. Turn off all televisions, radios, and computers. Focus on the moment of silence and when the moment comes to an end and you have finished offering your prayers, reflect on the moment and ask yourself if you personally did what you could by “Praying it forward.” If your answer is, “No”, you might want to extend your moment of silence – no one will be watching, take a chance and dig a little deeper.
If possible, sometime between now and Friday (and beyond), take the time to get out in the public – get away from all the coverage about Sandy Hook for a few minutes – get a cup of coffee or tea somewhere – drop a little extra in the “tip jar” – stop by a Church, any Church, and put something in the “Poor Box” – hold a door for someone – say “Hi” to someone you don’t know – when walking past someone you don’t know, don’t look down or away, take the time and make the effort to smile – when you see someone you know and care about, give that person a warm hug – tell someone who you love that you love them – and if possible, look in a mirror and take the time to compliment yourself – take time to remind yourself that you made a difference today – and don’t be afraid to do it again tomorrow – who knows, it might be the start of a wonderful habit.
Keep in mind that there are millions of people across the country who are grieving in private and are more than open to, or looking for, the opportunity to share their thoughts and prayers. It might be someone near you in the checkout line in the grocery store or someone waiting alongside you at the bus stop or even someone in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. They all might be waiting to be heard or are more than open to hearing someone else’s grief. Seize the moment.