for the 26…
Today started like most other days – waking up early, a hot cup of coffee, getting my kids up and dressed, packing lunches, double checking backpacks, hurrying to school while listening to a 10 year old girl and a 7 year old boy debate whose jacket is better looking, a quick kiss goodbye in the drop off line, and back home to get myself ready for work. Because of the way work schedules line up, my normal routine consists of taking my kids to school on Thursdays and Fridays, so this was the first day this week I got to play taxi. Probably sounds familiar to most other parents out there. But today was different – at least for me.
As my kids exited my truck and I watched them scurry to their respective classrooms, a thought crossed my mind: What if this is the last time I…? Finishing the thought privately was scary enough, so you’ll understand if I do not write it.
Much like most of America this week, I’ve hurt for the families in Connecticut. Asking the same question as all of you – why? As a parent of elementary school aged children, I cannot even begin to imagine the sense of loss, emptiness, devastation and finality the parents of the slain Sandy Hook school children must be feeling this holiday season. Or maybe, I just don’t want to.
Over the last several days, I’ve listened to the endless debate on gun control, mental health and wellness, and heard the question asked numerous times “where is the solution?” I’ve been sickened by the political posturing that has developed on these subjects while the lives lost have seemingly become insignificant to those in power. I’ve seen news stories this week of parents in pain, communities rallying around them, and complete strangers coming to the aide of those affected. Anderson Cooper of CNN (who I greatly admire as a journalist) cried several times on live television while reading the names of the 26 people who lost their lives, in fact, he barely got through it. Then there was the story of Jordan Pritchard, a retired U.S. Marine who decided to dust off his old uniform and stand guard outside his local elementary school in Tennessee, to help his community feel safe.
As adults who help children, we therapists have a unique opportunity to help guide lives in a positive and meaningful direction. The influence we have may range from minute to immeasurable, but nonetheless, it’s a point that should not be taken for granted. We have the opportunity to show our patients that WE do care, even if it seems to them that no one else does. That information, that feeling, that perspective, may change their lives. This rare opportunity really hit home for me this week, and has refocused me on showing my patients how much I care.
Vision Therapy to me has always been about perspective, and how to offer the patients a new one. After the events of last Friday, I can confess that mine has changed – perhaps forever.