Remembering Our Purpose

Posted on October 31, 2013, in Trauma

Last week our attention and our hearts were pulled to the west and east coasts of the United States as tragedy unfolded with innocent lives lost to random violence. We can't help but stop and wonder how such things can happen. We wonder if it isn't possible to see these things coming and prevent the tragic outcomes. Sadly, we have more and more opportunities to dissect events like this and the formula seems similar. People become or feel marginalized and isolated. For various reasons they are unable to manage or adequately express the progression of thoughts and emotions they experience. They determine that they will exercise whatever power they can muster and hurt or kill others in the process. They are bereft of hope with nothing to give so they take their own life and those of others, many times others they don't even know. We know that those areas comprise what we refer to as the vital sign needs of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity.

There will be the usual great debate about guns, freedom, and the Constitution. What may get lost amid the current horror and senselessness of these terrible acts is that children and families around the world are struggling, in pain, and on the edge every day. Many of you reading our e-newsletter this month are working with at least one young person or a family that could be in some stage of being the source of the next tragedy to make headlines. Most likely though there will be no headlines but there will be significant stresses acting on those with whom we work. Parents will anguish over what to do about their child or they will take out their frustrations, anger or perversions on their children. Children will be victims to the neglects or the abuses of their parents or other adults. Some children will victimize those closest to them because they need help that isn't being provided. As these stories peak and fade our political leaders are in another great debate about how we will pay our bills and what social programs will have to be eliminated to help us not fall off of a fiscal cliff. Making mental health and social services less available and accessible to those in need will only serve to increase the stress and pressures of those most in need.

We grieve and mourn the victims of these tragic stories as well as those who will suffer their loss for a generation or more. We also grieve and mourn for those who perpetrate these violent acts. Our work puts us on the front line with young people and families who are hurting. We may also be in support positions that help create the resources to identify vital sign needs, build strengths and skills, and create hope for those who hurt so much. As we prepare for the various celebrations that occur during this time of year and make promises for the coming year let us also rededicate ourselves to our purpose and our work. Let us ensure that we care for ourselves and for each other so we can be available to those whose lives are in the balance.

Best wishes for peace and hope.


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