I didn’t lose a loved one that morning in Sandy Hook Elementary. But as many other parents that were watching the horrific news through a television screen, life never felt the same. Sandy Hook changed my parenting forever.
When the first news broke about the shooting, I couldn’t stop thinking about the agony of the parents who had their children in the school. My four year old was in preschool at the time and I felt that I needed to pick her up.
When I pulled over to the preschool parking lot, I noticed that there were already parents waiting outside the door to get their children back. Although we kind of knew each other, no one dared to say a word while we waited for our kids. We were graving.
How Sandy Hook Changed My Parenting
After Sandy Hook, I can’t help myself from inspecting carefully every building where my kids go. I take a few seconds to find the locations of the doors and scan possible places to hide if something could happen. Coming from a country where armed robbery is very common, I thought that raising my children in the United States was safer.
Sometimes I feel like our communities live in constant fear, this was proven not a long time ago, when shoppers that were visiting the Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh panicked after hearing what they thought were gunshots. The mall had to go on lock down but evidence of gunshots fired were never discovered.
Children in schools have also been introduced to safety drills in case there is a “bad guy” inside the school premises. The process has the purpose to teach students and staff what to do in case there is a shooter. I know preparation is important, however it’s still heartbreaking that young children have to be introduced to the idea that they may not be safe in school.
Please check out Sandy Hook Promise, a national non-profit organization founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. They am to educate and empower parents, schools and community organizations on how to prevent violence BEFORE it happens.
Sandy Hook was a reminder to love deeply and not to let a day go without telling our children how much they are loved. Our children are a gift and governments need to make sure they are safe. Always.