A Dad Speaks Out- Clarity and Opportunity in Crisis


MP900438625Public hearings on gun violence are occurring in Connecticut in the wake of the Sandy Hook school mass shooting that occurred on December 14th. As a father, a citizen, and a professional in social work, the testimony of Mr. Mark Mattioli, whose 6-year-old son James was killed in the shooting, stand out to me as very clear, measured, and appropriate. Watch excerpts from Mr. Mattioli’s testimony.

Crisis presents both danger and opportunity. As I read accounts of Mr. Mattioli’s testimony in the media, the danger in his crisis was widely recognized: the loss of a child can cause withdrawal, immobilizing grief, deep depression, bitterness,  and anger.

But we also must realize that persevering through a crisis, especially one of real loss, can provide clarity and awareness that one has never before experienced.

MP900398959In crises like the one experienced by many families in Newtown, personal values can renew as strong moorings. Appreciation for ideals that have been taken for granted becomes an anchor. And through this revived clarity, it can become easier to gauge what are true priorities, and what really does not matter. Sometimes in a way that escapes those of us on the outside of the crisis.

I want to share some of the insights Mr. Mattioli expressed in his testimony:

We need civility across our nation. What we are seeing are symptoms of a bigger problem.

We need common decency to prevail.

We (parents) are the primary caregivers and educators. We ask our schools to contribute to that.

Parenting is where we need to focus our attention. We do not need complex laws.

I’m a big proponent of individual responsibility and enforcement so if there are going to be laws we should enforce them.

Criminals by definition break the law… I don’t care if you name it James’ law, I don’t want it.

I could comment more on each of these points, but I will not at this time. I plan to write at least 2 more posts based on these comments. But I want to draw attention to the fact that we do not have to have knee-jerk responses to crises. We do better if we step back and take notes from those that are enduring the loss than we do to begin shouting for changes in laws, posturing politically, or imposing special interest agendas.

Crises are to be learned from, not taken advantage of. Let’s listen to every voice and develop some clarity in this crisis.

What do you think of these comments? What is your experience with developing clarity through crisis? Let me know in the comments below.

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh

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