I, like almost every single person in this country, have been trying, and failing, to process what happened at Sandy Hook.
My reaction to things that horrify and confound me is to research them in a somewhat compulsive way that does not make anything better. It just makes me much, much worse, albeit more conversant in details of the Horror. And the more I read about this, the more helpless and crazy I feel. But it seems too big and too sad to ignore.
In the course of everything I’ve consumed about the shooting, this amazing article by KJ Dell’Antonia was the one that caused me to walk away with something useful.
Basically, the author is explaining how to talk to kids about the shooting (in ways that actually help them, rather than exorcising your demons by creating them in the minds of children). One amazing suggestion, given to her by Harvard psychiatry professor Nancy Rappaport, is to replace “worried thoughts” with “brave thoughts.”
Her worried thoughts about her kids going to school, she said, could be countered by a brave thought that school shootings are very, very rare, and loving people all over the country work hard every day to make sure they don’t happen.
This isn’t just about shootings or big things. If you, like me, have worried thoughts all the goddamn time about everything, try spending a day holding up bravery to your fear. It works surprisingly well.
Seriously, go read that article. And this one, which is chock-full of brave thoughts about the shooting.