Finding space to heal

For children, love and compassion are more important than explanations

The author is retired from teaching biology at Chico State, where he was an expert on vernal pools.

I grieve the loss of youth and their teachers. The invasion of the tranquil learning environment of one school is an invasion of all schools. Children’s families and teachers must avoid letting the fear that stalked Sandy Hook Elementary School produce a rawness in teaching and living.

Children in Connecticut and those listening throughout the world need space and compassion to live beyond this tragedy. When we became distracted by reporters forcing answers from children and exploiting adults interested in television, think of the impact on children. Additionally, the many attempted responses and explanations for this senseless act are confusing, especially to children. Love and compassion are more important than explanations.

As this tragedy becomes assimilated into the American mind and soul, our society needs to develop suitable responses. Our nation needs to find and help more dangerous mentally ill individuals and support their families. We must find a way to eliminate the availability of guns that kill many individuals in seconds. We need to make compassion more important in economic and political life. We need to encourage positive experiences to counter the expansion of computer games that measure success in destructive ways. We need to compassionately alter the increasing pressure of our lives by believing in the needs of others.

On an individual level, developing compassionate understanding in children and friends takes time and patience. Give our children time to grow up. Life is further enriched when we support and enjoy the beauty of the natural world. Life improves when our perspectives and interests are expanded by the interests of children and friends. We need time to benefit from the creative influences of artists, musicians and great thinkers. Let this tragedy remind us of the need for quiet times together and to enjoy family and friends as part of the natural flow of life.