Being happy not only feels good but is good for you. Unfortunately we don't often know what is going to bring us happiness. Don Herold said, "Unhappiness is not knowing what we want and killing ourselves to
get it." Using the research from positive psychology find out the value of positive feelings, what brings greater life satisfaction, and how we can use this information to improve our lives, relationships, health, work, and community.
Tragedy A Time to Come Together
I just learned about the school
shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. It is hard to know how to respond
when something so tragic occurs. Events like this stir up many
difficult feelings, such as confusion, fear, anger, sadness, and
hopelessness. We asked ourselves, what should we do? How do we talk
to our children about this?
What can schools do?
There are no simple answers, but I
would like to share a few thoughts that may be of help. First of all,
despite the all too frequent reports of school shootings, schools
remain one of the safest environments for children. In terms of sheer
numbers, many more children are harmed outside of school then in
school. In terms of what schools need to do eliminate these types of
tragedies, currently there is no effective way of predicting who is
going to do something like this. Also, I heard a journalist who has
covered school shootings say that there is little evidence that more
security and zero tolerance policies have made much difference. What
does seem to help is more resources, and more supports for children
and their families.
What can parents say to their children?
Parents need to tell their children
that they love them, and that they and the staff at the school are
there to protect them. They should also tell their children that they
want to hear any thoughts, worries, fears or concerns their children
may be having. After that they just need to just listen, to
acknowledge whatever their children are thinking or feeling, and to
let them know they are there for them. Listening and being there for
your children are the most helpful things you can do. We cannot
explain away our children's difficult feelings, or our own for that
matter. But we can listen to and support each other.
What can we do as a community?
Again I do not have answer to this, but
I would suggest that we do the same thing that we would do for our
children. We can listen to each other, and support each other. A
terrible event like this is alien, it is impossible to understand how
someone can do this, and alienating, causing fear and distrust. The
only antidote I know is connection.
Martin Luther King said after his home
was fire-bombed and his children were threatened,
chain reaction of evil- hate begetting hate, wars producing more
wars- must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of
annihilation…love is the only force capable of transforming an
enemy into a friend…By its very nature, hate destroys and tears
down; by its
nature, love creates and builds up.
can connect more deeply, reach out to our neighbors and friends, and
trust that in the end it will be our love and humanity that will heal
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