Paula Williams: Think first of protecting our children
“Sometimes,” said Winnie the Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” Nothing compares to the moment a baby is placed in your arms and you kiss that sweet face for the first time. Complete love and indescribable joy fill your heart for that tiny person from that day on.
The fact that children are precious is never more obvious than at Christmastime. Ethan entered our house, spotted presents under the Christmas tree, and asked, “Nana, is one of those presents for ME?” This year, with him being in kindergarten, Ethan followed Deanna and Corrine, his older cousin and sister, in checking tags under the tree for his name. He checked each gift he received to be sure his name was printed on it before opening. The joy of children really makes Christmas so very special.
The fact that children are precious was never more obvious than on that dark Friday almost two weeks ago when 20 young children and six of their teachers were brutally gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary. I cannot even fathom the depth of sorrow that 20 sets of parents, siblings, grandparents and friends now feel in the place of that indescribable joy at first holding those precious children. I cannot bear to even think about the scene in those first-grade classrooms when first responders arrived. It was quite chilling the next week to practice our lockdown drill at my own elementary school. To lock the door, close the blinds, cover the windows, and sit under the table with my children and hear the doorhandle rattle as someone checked it was unnerving. I thought of those children and teachers at Sandy Hook and the terror they must have experienced.
How do we as a country go on after Sandy Hook? I don’t have the answer, but perhaps we need to teach our children that violence is not the answer. We need to teach them that life is so precious and no one has the right to end the life of another. The well-being and welfare of children must always be our focus as a nation.
The fact that children are precious was never obvious to our family than on 12/12/12 just two weeks ago when my granddaughter, Fallon Reese Williams, was born at High Point Regional Hospital to Gray and Torria. While her older sister and brother were both a week early, Fallon showed patience in waiting to have this very special birthday, so perhaps she will be a teacher one day (patience is a job requirement). 12 is supposedly a perfect number. In the Bible, there are, after all, 12 tribes of Israel and 12 gates in Heaven’s great wall, just to name a few examples.
While we know that none of us are perfect, Fallon sure seems that way right now. She played Baby Jesus and her mom and dad played Mary and Joseph last Sunday, and she was spectacular. Not even a whimper — just a few sneezes! Yes, this new baby is very precious to our family.
Many years ago, the famous Native American leader, Sitting Bull, was quoted as saying, “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” Now is exactly the time that we need to do just that for the sake of all our children. Our children are far too precious not to ensure their safety and well-being wherever they may be.
Paula Gulledge Williams lives in High Point and teaches at Pilot Elementary School in Greensboro. Her columns appear on this page every other Thursday. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.