Monday, December 17, 2012

Radical Compassion

I read the article "I am Adam Lanza's Mother", and I have to say I applaud her for being open and honest. I thought she was right on when she said, 

"It's easy to talk about guns, but it's time to talk about mental illness."

I don't usually give my opinions on social, economic, or political issues, but here's why I am talking about this woman's article.

Reading stories like this is how compassion and empathy will breed. It's easy to talk smack, and criticize others and their lives, their kids, their choices. But it's commendable and honorable to educate ourselves, to refrain from judgement, and to not assume. It's beautiful when we remember that we are all part of humanity, but we are very very fallen. We are so far from how things "should be" and we are even  further from what's "fair". And because I'm in school to be a counselor, and I just learned about doing what works, and what's effective, I'll say this: 

We are given a choice everyday on how we are going to contribute in life, {our own lives and others' lives}--will we just be another voice in the crowd that slams others? Will we be a person who jumps to conclusions and thinks we know everything there is to know? Will we jump on the band wagon of political laws? Will we just stand back and judge a situation and pretend we know all that needs to be done to fix this but really do nothing? 
Are we going to be a people who understand that it all starts with awareness? Are we going to make an effort to get informed and learn? Will we stand up for those suffering with things out of their control? Will we lend our time to organizations to volunteer at various places with all kinds of people? Will we give our time to our kids and their friends that need it? Sometimes school work CAN wait. Sometimes chores can wait. Sometimes are kids and others just need us to sit with them and talk about life. I hope we'll be available.I want to be an advocate for children, especially where mental health is concerned.
My wish is that school add mental health awareness and education to their curriculum. Wouldn't that be amazing?

I hope to be a person of influence in my everyday, and I vow to continue to get criticism out of my system day in and day out. I want to have compassion when it's tough to have it. I want to have empathy for people in trauma.I want to learn when it's not easy to understand. I want to extend grace when it's not deserved and I want to forgive when it feels impossible. 

One life has always had the power to make a difference. And that's what I plan to do with mine.

Tuesday Mourning by Ellen Print

GraceLaced Mondays


Janette said...

OH my gosh! I read that blog post and all the comments.. (At the time there were only 165 comments..not sure what it's at now) But anyway.. I'm sad to admit it but up until I read that I was never really aware that such troubled children existed.. I mean.. I know autistic children and adults with other mental disorders, but I never imagined that there were children that were violent as a result.. Honestly! Do I live under a rock or something????? I must.. But that article was an eye opener..and I felt soooo much compassion for that poor lady.. I mean..who does she turn to for help??? So sad... But like you said.. I want to make a difference with my life too! I want to be kinder to strangers, give an encouraging word to someone every day.. Call up people that I've neglected, etc. Thanks for this post Gina!


GOOSE said...

Your last paragraph is very powerful and very true.

Aimee said...

Your journey - to be the best you - is certainly commendable. I believe that being true to one's self is critical to feeling good AND being a better person. Everyone is entitled to good and bad days - moments of weakness and moments of strength. It's what we choose to do with the moments after our moments of we harbor the sadness/frustration/hatred or do we apologize and move forward? Do we offer a helping hand? And, when we can, do we just - really - let go? I don't think we'll ever really understand what happened in Newtown but I know that we can move forward and be a helping those around us and those near us. We can work with what we are given and make an impact.

Kelly said...

i read it too. Protocol for the mentally ill for sure needs to be reexamined.

I was watching CNN last night and they said that 1 in 5 children in America suffer from mental illness. that is a huge number 20% of all children. i was blown away. i had no idea.

it's time to act. show love and make a difference. i love your heart Gina. great post.


christina said...

yes and amen! I read that article. and is it so sad. but it needs to be brought to our attention. I can feel my spirit stirring, and we need more compassion and kindness in the world. one smile as cheesy as it sounds can make a difference. Simply asking how someones day was and truly meaning it can make a difference. God called us to love and be active, not stand on the side lines.

great post!

Becky said...

I admire her courage - love the message to love and be active - so important. Thank you.

Tamera Beardsley said...

A beautiful post my dear! Your counseling will be a gift to all that receive it.... as will all affected by the ripple effect. Your words are such encouragement.

Stephanie said...

I read that article a couple days ago, and I'm still thinking about it. It was one of the most profoundly eye-opening things I've ever read about mental illness. So heartbreaking, and so inexcusable that she has no other options for her sweet baby. My heart breaks for her.

Rissi said...

What happened in New Haven was SO horrible! I cannot fathom what those families are going through.

Gaby said...

I admire you.

p.s. wasn't my birthday this week, it's christmas day :)


vintage grey said...

Thank you for sharing this! Wishing you and your precious family a Merry Christmas!! Lots of love to you, Heather

Erica said...

Such a great reminder. Why are we so critical of others? It just seems to be in our nature, I guess. And, it's something we all need to work on. It's so easy to judge, especially when you don't truly know the situation. Who knows, you might have done the exact same thing??

Erica said...

Just to tag on... I think awareness is key. If we knew the warning signs of mental illness and came together to deal with it, we could work to help the people who needed it before things spiraled out of control. Too often this issue is pushed away and considered taboo.

Stephani - A Defined Life said...

One person at a time, one heart at a time. We don't have to change the whole world, just our world. Imagine if we all did that! - I've been following you on instagram and just stumbled on your blog while visiting Beautifully Rooted. I'm following now! Merry Christmas!

Autumn said...

My siblings have severe mental illnesses and even though they were adopted...their struggles were often blamed on my parents who were trying their hardest. It was so hard to watch my parents deal with the judgement, but also to see my siblings deal with it too.

Jean said...

I agree... "It's easy to talk about guns, but it's time to talk about mental illness." As you stated, I don't like to talk about certain things publicly as well, but if you think about it... if we were to remove guns, mental illness will still be there. I think it's more than just guns. I think people do need to be more aware about mental illness.