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Hug Them Tight
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There probably isn’t a parent in this country that didn’t hug their kids a little tighter the night of December 14th. As news spread that 20 innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School had been shot, parents around the nation grieved deeply, even though they didn’t know the students. But they did know what it is to love a child, and could imagine what it would be like if that child was taken away so brutally.

Many parents found themselves being a little more lenient, not sweating the small stuff, and even indulging their children a bit. Three days after the shooting, Eric Heenan found himself in a familiar fuss with his nine-year-old son. His son didn’t want to wear his snow boots to school because it wasn’t the “cool” thing to do. Eric told a reporter, “And then I was like, you know what, God forbid the last conversation we have is this. There but for the grace of God go we.” 1

Christie O'Sullivan has two boys, ages five and six. When she returned home from work on the day of the shooting, she found her bathroom sink clogged with toilet paper, and the floor covered with dirty tissues. “I had to just stop and appreciate my messy bathroom,” she said. “Having a 6-year-old myself and imagining him seeing this horror in his life crushes me. Just the very thought of it makes me break down into tears.” 2

During a packed house for a holiday play, director Amy Connor noticed a big change in the way parents were treating their children. She reported, “In all that chaos, for the very first time, not one single parent yelled at their child. Instead I saw hands being held, faces being touched, shoulders being hugged. I saw gratitude spilling from every parent.” 3

Why do We Wait?

It’s wonderful to read of the changes parents are making nation-wide in the wake of this crisis. But as a parent myself, I can’t help but ask two things: “Why do we wait?” and” How long will it last?”

Every day that we get to spend with our children is a gift. Yet we too easily get caught up in the business of life and don’t give them the appreciation and attention they deserve. We answer their inquiries with, “I’m busy now, ask me later.” Their pleading for playtime is answered with, “Maybe tomorrow.” And their bedtime is rushed with, “Hurry up and get to bed!” So we put off demonstrating the love we have for them.

Whether your child is a newborn baby, or a grown-up with children of their own, show them today that you love them. And then commit to doing that daily for the rest of your life.

As one mother said, “My heart breaks for the victims and families affected by this senseless tragedy. Hug your children tight, and give them infinite love . . . each day is not guaranteed, so cherish each moment with your child.” 4

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

1,2,3 http://news.msn.com/us/after-newtown-parents-more-lenient
4 http://newsandtribune.com/local/x983028524/Readers-respond-to-news-of-school-shooting

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