The tragedy in Connecticut

Dear Erikson Institute community,

Friday was a terrible day for this nation. We were all deeply affected by what took place in Newtown, Connecticut. The loss of life was horrific. The fact that it occurred in an elementary school and involved young children and those dedicated to teaching them made the event unbearable. For us, as people committed to children in the early years, this was not only a tragedy. It was a violation.

I’m writing to ask you to think about what each of you can do to help. I’m sure that some of you will write letters to the Newtown families; there are opportunities to do this on the Internet. Some of you who are parents will no doubt talk about this with your own children and all of you will spend time going over this with those you love, whether they are your friends, spouse, parents, or others in your life. Some of us will consider once again the terrible damage and destruction that guns have done in our nation’s history. All of us have to try to take steps, no matter how small, that can be healing or, even more important, can help prevent another occurrence of this type.

How do we do this? By rededicating ourselves to children and families; by strengthening our resolve to put into effect and share principles of child development; by recognizing that we must maintain the availability of mental health services for families, especially in a time that is as fraught and uncertain as has been true for the past several years; and by trying to convince those who make policy in this nation that might does not make right, that fairness, equality, and reaching out to those in need are values we all need to ascribe to, and that violence and the tools of violence are non-normative and must be rejected.

Our hearts go out to all those directly and indirectly affected by the tragedy in Connecticut. Let us remember that we have chosen work that is intended to reduce human tragedy by supporting the growth of human potential. Let’s use what we know to help those who need us most.

Sam Meisels