To The Editor:

Five days after the tragedy at Sandy Hook school, I’m still trying to wrap my head around how something like this could’ve happened.

I see a post on Facebook that sends me into a tailspin. Really, the complaint is silly and I should’ve just ignored it, but isn’t that what’s happening in America these days?

We just ignore and hope it goes away. For years we’ve learned to accept the changes in our communities. No longer can we scold our children for their wrong doings for fear we will be attacked or turned into DFS. Gone are the days where there were harsh consequences for your behavior. Yes, we take their most prized possessions from them for a day or week, but do they really learn from this? What happened to face to face apologies?

Where your mother dragged you, albeit kicking and screaming, to your neighbor’s house and made you say sorry and made you say it until you really meant it. We accept the fact that our children can no longer walk or ride their bikes to their friends’ homes to play. Why is this? Why does it have to be that way?  When did that stop?

Our own children cannot play outside by themselves because we are afraid they will be kidnapped. So we have them stay inside and watch TV and play video games, devoid of any or very little human contact until the time we think they can take care of themselves. We accept these things as fact, but do we need to? Are we powerless to change them?

My children never knew the joy of leaving their home at 7 in the morning, returning for lunch, leaving again and returning for supper and possibly leaving again until dark. The only thing my parents worried about was us falling in the creek or skinning our knee. So, are we as a society satisfied by the status quo, or can we change things? We changed them once, why can’t we do it again?

My wish for the new year is simple, walk with your head up as you pass people on the street. Say hello or just smile. You never know whose life you affect by this simple act.

 A young boy walks into his therapist’s office. His doctor asks him how his day was. The young boy replied, with a smile on his face, today someone passed me on the way to school, they looked at me and smiled and said good day. The boy continues, what they didn’t know was that I was on my way to kill myself, I just didn’t think I could take it anymore. But that smile was real, and it made me feel wanted, so today, I decided I want to live!

The therapist, wiping a tear from her eye, looked at the boy and smiled and said, one good deed deserves another, now you go out and you smile at a stranger and say good day to them, because now you know how one simple gesture and kind act can save someone’s life.

It’s time to change the world. Smile. Change the world today!