When Hurt People Hurt Other People

Another tragic hate crime. It’s almost too much to take.

In response to the Charleston shooting, I’ve seen people cast blame, lament racism, talk in circles about guns, and spew more hatred. It’s the easy thing to do.

I haven’t heard anyone say what they, as an individual, plan to do about it in a positive way. It’s impossible to make sense of such a horrific act. We overanalyze. We try to solve the global problem with sweeping statements, generalizations, and vague criticisms. How does this approach translate to solutions? Or real impact?

The individual often feels helpless. Talking heads look for someone else to make things better. Someone with more power or influence must change things.

The solution starts with you and me. The problem is complex and seems overwhelming. Still, I believe as individuals we have the ability to make an impact, no matter how close or how far we are from the actual tragedy.

[Read more…]


Hurt People Hurt Other People

Early this morning, at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” 12 people were shot and killed in a senseless act of violence. James Holmes, 24, kicked down the emergency door at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, dropped some type of smoke bomb, and started shooting.

My heart aches. Can you imagine how hurt and lost someone must be in order to carry out such a horrific act?

Killing is the most severe form of hurting others. But if you think about it, we are all guilty. We’re all hurt people who hurt other people. It might be on a smaller scale, but it still counts. Every day we hurt friends, family, and strangers with our words, actions, or lack of action.

The world is full of hurt. And you can do something about it. [Read more…]


Valentine’s Day Scrooge

I love people; not Valentine’s Day. In fact, I pretty much hate this holiday. Just call me Ebenezer.

I liken it to a grown-up version of standardized testing. Valentine’s Day puts unnecessary pressure on people to express their love for each other. Boyfriends, girlfriends, and spouses everywhere rarely pass the test. Single people feel obligated to appear sad. And mothers of young children turn into competitive lunatics.

Those of us less-crafty-types with small children feel lame on Valentine’s Day. Two years ago, my friend, Polly-the-Pinterest-Addict (girl, I love you), made these:

I have NO idea what they are, but don’t they look fabulous? Polly inspires me to be a better mom, and I love the creative things she does for her boys. But that photo launched me into a moment of inadequacy. Am I doing enough for my kids on Valentine’s Day? I did manage to use food coloring to dye their milk pink. I’m not getting any awards for that!

On to the crafts. Check out these gorgeous card boxes by two girls in my son’s class.

The boa! The glitter! The ladybugs! I have box envy. I simply love it. The problem is, I have full-on panic attacks when I walk into a craft store. It feels like a foreign land where the right side of my brain might hemorrhage, causing me to drop dead in the pipe cleaner aisle.

I also loved this one with the lace. I wanted to call the mom and ask her how she made it.

I know you’re dying to see my son’s box, so without further delay…

Um, ya, that is the reverse side of some leftover Christmas wrapping paper.

Adding to the paucity of my self esteem were the beautifully crafted hand-made cards and gifts at the class party. I was lucky we had managed to complete our store bought cards. Hec, I call it a success if I can get my kids to write their own name 22 times. By this time of year, I’m out of steam. It takes me two months to recover from that stupid Elf on the Shelf’s antics. I mean, er, I’m still tired from implementing all my fun Elf on the Shelf ideas! <insert happy holidays smiley face here> Can we take a break please? I’m saving up for April, when I have Easter and both kids’ birthdays all in one week. Pray for me.

Don’t judge. I have a good attitude about Valentine’s Day in public. I even smile, wear a red shirt and hug people.

But honestly, here are three lessons about love we can learn from Valentine’s Day:

  • TELL people you love them. Not just on a holiday. Tell them every day.
  • SHOW people you love them. Do something unexpected for a friend. Send a card for no reason. Make your family’s favorite meal on a Tuesday night.
  • REACH OUT to those who might not feel loved. Chances are you know someone who is hurting from painful circumstances. They’ve lost a parent. They’re the new kid at school. They’re going through a divorce. Notice them. Befriend them. Invite them to lunch. Or simply pick up the phone.

Let’s focus less on the performance aspect of Valentine’s Day. Of course if you’re a talented baker or crafty-type and you enjoy those activities, rock on! (Will you make some things for me next year, please? I’ll pay you.) Go ahead and pay the 300% markup on flowers this week, it helps the economy. But for those like me who are self-critical on this holiday, keep in mind it doesn’t matter if yours is the best gift, most delectable treat or embellished card. Take the pressure off yourself and do one thing.

Love others. Every day of the year.