This morning, while watching my 7 year old voraciously tear through his Christmas gifts I couldn’t help but think of the victims of Sandy Hook. I saw flashes of each of the innocent victims; especially the children, who were taken from this life all too soon in my head. My heart was swollen with pain and sorrow while I watched my little guy in all of his joy on Christmas morning.
We have all been so affected by this tragedy for several different reasons; some of us are affected because we are parents of young children, others are teachers who cannot seem to shake the visions and sense of what happened on Friday, December 14th in a small, quaint community. And most (if not all) of us have been jolted with utter disbelief at how such a terrible thing could happen.
I’m affected by all of the above, and so much more…
I was sitting in my principal’s office on Friday, December 14th when CNN announced the tragedy. I couldn’t believe what I was viewing on the television. I, who never watches the news, who was waiting for my principal to review my post observation, was sitting in what felt like a surreal moment. I was stunned and totally heart-broken by the news that was flashing across the screen.
I tried to stay away from the news because I am truly affected by it, but I couldn’t. On Saturday, I read that all of the children who were killed were in 1st grade. I was completely devastated because not only do I teach 1st grade, but I also have a 1st grader of my own. As tears streamed down my face I knew in my heart that I had to do something. I sat quietly asking my higher power for guidance and then I remembered Chakra Bear.
Chakra Bear is a small stuffed animal who sits in my classroom and helps my children to feel their feelings and voice their truth. I bought this little healing bear several years ago in a small book store. The bear came with a coloring book that told a story of a little girl who was sad and when she held her Chakra Bear she ultimately felt better because of its ‘good energy.’
When one of my kids feels sad, disappointed, or nervous (has a dim light) they go to the shelf to get the bear and hold it at their desk. This alerts me that they are hurting and I go to them as soon as possible. I ask them if they would like to talk about it or not. At that point, they share an ‘I Statement’ with me or choose to just hold the bear. Either way, their feelings are being acknowledged so that they are not holding it in and burying it. Oftentimes, my students will get the bear for other students who look sad and this is truly amazing because I am witnessing compassion in action.
When Chakra Bear came to mind as the tears poured from my eyes, I knew that this bear belonged in Sandy Hook!
I immediately Googled the creator and started the ball in motion so that I could get a healing bear out to each of the families who lost a child on Friday, December 14th. I was astounded that once the Chakra Bear Project went up on my Facebook page people responded quickly with love. Within hours we had reached the goal of donating 20 bears to the families and people were asking to send a bear to every child in the school.
I loved the idea, so I researched further and continued the campaign. With the help of my email list, Facebook and my school community we were able to put together a special care package for each of the 20 families, donate a Chakra Bear for every K-1 student and send another healing animal (Tai Chi Tiger) for grades 2-4.
On Sunday, December 23rd I drove out to Sandy Hook with a few friends to deliver the healing stuffed animals. We drove for about 2.5 hours to a quaint little town in Connecticut that reminded all of us on this journey of the small town we teach in. We dropped off our gifts, attended a service at a local church and then went into town to ‘pay our respects’ at the memorials.
The energy in town was somber. It felt just like the energy in NYC on 9-11-11; calm, quiet, and loving. There were bears, candles, pictures and notes of love and support from all over the world. It was hard not to be overwhelmed by the outreach and love. We walked through the town and all you could hear was the rushing water from a nearby creek. I had chills from my head to my toes as we turned to go back up the hill to the church and saw the police cars blocking the road to the elementary school.
On the drive home we were all quiet. Perhaps we were processing our feelings. You would think that I would feel good because I answered the call within to do something, even though it was small, it was something and there was loving intent behind the project. Yet, in the past few days I have felt as if I have been in a daze.
I now realize why…
When I look at pictures of the victims, I see life and light dancing in their eyes. When I look at the perpetrator’s picture, all I see is total disconnection. At one point in his life, he too was an innocent child. He was a child who had light in his eyes and life abounding. I find myself wondering how he could get to such a point in his life that he could be so totally disconnected from Spirit. Then, I look around in life and realize that I unfortunately see this every day, and you do as well.
Working in a school, I often see children who lose that light very early. It’s the saddest sight my eyes have ever seen…a child who loses their spark. There are several reasons for this; abuse, neglect, emotional trauma, lack of love, etc. It saddens me that we can allow the light to dim in any child.
My intent with Chakra Bear in my classroom is to give my students an opportunity to feel their feelings, speak their truth and connect with one another. I never realized just how important this truly is until this very moment.
It takes a village to raise a child, every child, even that child who you turn and judge because of their behavior. All children need our love and support. All children are trying hard to communicate with us in some way, shape or form.
I’ve heard several people say, “There’s really nothing we can do.” I beg to differ. There is something we can all do.
We can teach our children that we are all connected.
We can teach them that we are all one.
We can BE the change we want to see by simply being present in the moment and acknowledging their feelings, their voice and their very existence.
Today and every day focus on being present in the moment so that you can not only shine your own light that is deep within your heart, but more importantly…
Ignite the light of the children who surround you.
If we don’t want to see tragedies like this again, then we all need to take responsibility to teach our children to connect instead of disconnecting.
When we are disconnected, there is fear. When we are connected, there is LOVE. Choose love.