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Tip #17: Get to Know Others.

Right now, the nation is sad over the news of the recent school shooting in Newtown, CT. Everyone is trying to figure out why. What could have made a person take the lives of so many innocent children? The world may never know but now there are a lot of people on a quest to find a solution fast. Stronger gun laws, arming teachers with guns, locking up the schools, etc. are some of the things being discussed.

What I think is probably an overly simplified fix but I'm sure it plays a role in the way these killers think. When we hear these stories, some think these people are crazy, weird, out-of control, etc. The truth is, they may be. But why? There seems to be a common thread to all of this madness. The shooters were loners, were "different", didn't fit in, were rejects, bullied or whatever. What we don't realize is that we must accept some of the blame for acts like these (before you start yelling and screaming at me, hear me out). When was the last time you saw a kid that was awkward or weird; that may have talked differently, walked differently, looked differently or thought differently? If you're like me, you have probably said to your friends (or in your head), "the light's on, but no one's home", "the elevator doesn't go to the top floor", or "she's a few keys short of a keyboard". We've all done it before. But it has to stop! We have to stop calling people weird just because they're different. No one wants to feel rejected, weird, or an outcast.

We have to reach out and embrace others. We have to show them genuine love, care, and concern. Are we not asked to love our neighbors as ourselves and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us? (I'm sure this is only one piece to a puzzle of tragic events like this but feel it's worth mentioning)

To sum it up, try reaching out to the "weirdos". Talk to them. Include them. You never know what kind of God-given light you could bring to their lives and the difference you can make (or the difference they can make in your life). Who knows, maybe it could spare someone of these gruesome acts of violence.

Written 12/16/2012 by John Weaver

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