Monday, December 17, 2012

The Blame Game

If your name is Sandy this has not been your year. At first we had Hurricane Sandy rip up the East Coast and now we have the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

We had no one to blame but nature for a hurricane. The latter is finding all kinds of blame. I've seen people blame gun laws, politics, mental illness, Autism and even blame the shooter's mother.

One women stepped up and wrote a powerful blog: "I am Adam Lanza's Mother." She describes the incredible struggle it is to have a child with such powerful difficulties that you fear the very person you also have to love.

Nurture versus Nature right? But sometimes no matter what we do as parents can predict a child's future. I know first hand of a teenager that committed a horrendous crime and will live the rest of his days in jail. Yet his younger sibling went above and beyond to be the hero when witnessing a violent crime.

So how can you blame the parent? They most likely raised them in the same environment, the same love and attention, yet one had issues beyond their ability to either recognize or handle.

Here in Lancaster we had the Amish school shooting. The most overwhelming thing was the Amish desire to forgive. They didn't blame the wife of Charles Roberts. They forgave and mourned for themselves as well as the family of the man who took so much from them.

I placed a post on Facebook asking that we just be sad for what happened. That we not judge, preach or criticize any number of things we can find to point a finger at. Let's just be sad. (That post now has 57 people who agree.) Let's mourn the small innocent faces, look in amazement at the acts of heroism, selflessness and love the faculty displayed. Let's acknowledge that it was senseless and horrible. But let's not use it to advance our own needs and desires whether personally or politically. To me that demeans the victims. It makes them pawns rather than people who are desperately missed.

I'm all for people taking a stand for what they believe in. It's our right. Just be aware of how sensitive the issues are before charging forward with a fist and a cause.

Many years ago I gave a friend of mine some parenting advice that she still remembers. I told her to never judge another parent for something you see them or their child do because before you know it you may be in the same position. Whether it's hitting, biting, swearing, destruction....or mental illness. We never know what turn our lives will take and the minute we judge another is when life throws us into the deep end.

No one knows how deep anyone's ocean is until we swim next to them. So rather than pointing, judging and letting them flounder, try to imagine how hard that current is to handle and show compassion. Because before you know it you may be the one drowning.