Organizing Theory & Artistry

Transitioning to Normal

"Maternal Caress" by Mary Cassatt (1891). From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Today, it’s hard to know exactly when and how to move forward with day-to-day life. The Newtown shootings still weigh heavily on everyone’s minds. My husband tells me not to get too bogged down in the news reports. When the shootings happened, I told my 4-year-old what had happened and even hearing the words of what happened, she told me, “I don’t want to hear about that anymore!” I don’t show my children the news for now.

Many friends are posting on Facebook that their children were terrified to go to school today and that parents were having a hard time letting them go. Here in Virginia, the police stationed officers at all schools, not because of any threat, but just as a means of helping reassure people that schools are safe places and that the police are here to protect us. I have to confess that as a homeschooling parent, it is a luxury to not have this burden of worry on my mind.

My husband and I are following the gun control debate issues as well. He sent me an interesting article from The Atlantic (who just happened to put gun control on their front cover story recently) and we have had some interesting discussions about guns. What has come to light for me is that if you are even going to contemplate legislating weapons, you need to be knowledgeable about weapons technology. You need to know how guns really work (and how they don’t). If your only information about guns comes from watching news reports, video games and action movies, you (like me) probably have a lot of misconceptions about how guns really function. My husband and I had an interesting discussion about the word “semi-automatic” a term, which many people, including me, probably emphasize the “automatic” part without knowing that “semi-automatic” does not mean an unending stream of bullets.

I still feel that the main issue at play here is treatment of mental illness in adults. Liza Long’s insightful blog post where she details her own experience with her 13-year old son who struggles with mental illness and violence and claims: “I am Adam Lanza’s mother.” is so timely. We have known for years that we have rising rates of autism (just to mention one mental impairment) and PBS shows like News Hour and Need to Know have profiled the fact that we, as a society, have no plan for any of these children once they graduate from the public school system. For now, we leave it all up to the families affected and this incident shows that families are incredibly strained and need help. I have no idea what “the answer” is but it most likely involves spending some money.

So, for now, I am still following the news, sad as it is. If you want to discuss any of these issues or share stories you find insightful, feel free to comment.

It is also important, however, that we move forward and it seems that one of the most comforting things to people right now is to have reminders that the world is a good place with many good people in it. In my small part in reminding the world of this fact, I am going to focus my next several posts on our holiday charitable efforts.

I do have some more self-indulgent Christmas things to share too but it doesn’t seem right to go there just yet. If you are wanting some of that holiday spirit, just hang tight and thanks for your patience!