A very dear friend of mine, Vangie Agbogu, was born and raised in Liberia, West Africa. She is one of the most intelligent and soulful people I know and she has often treated me to stories about her culture. One of my favorites is the notion that a mother to one, is a mother to all. The past few days have left me numb thinking of the inconsolable emptiness that has taken hold of the lives of those families who lost their children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. I think about their swollen eyes, the lump in their throats and the nausea. It will take some time before that gaping wound will fill with pain and grief. Then I turn my thoughts to the children.
Oddly, when I imagine the events, I can only see it through my child’s eyes. I imagine sitting at my desk as I once did when I was six. I imagine the fear and the confusion, which must have transfixed their thoughts. Then I think about the teachers, all women, who rushed to save the students, their children – Dawn Hocksprung, 47; Anne Marie Murphy, 52; Lauren Rousseau, 30; Mary Sherlach, 56; Victoria Soto, 27 – they gave up their lives, like any mother would, to protect their children. We are not unlike Vangie’s culture.
Just a week ago, the Liberian Council Of Churches held prayer services in honor of children in Liberia and calling for a stop to the violence against children. Their theme surrounds Proverb 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
We need to raise children so that they grow up and wouldn’t think about visiting violence upon others. We have a responsibility to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary to do better.