By Diane Runge
“She wanted to give him a good day, but didn’t think enough about giving him a good life.”
“She wanted to make everyone think everything was okay.”
Her son walked into the place she worked, and shot her four times; once for her, once for his dad, once for his brother, and once for himself.
Emily Miller, editor of the Washington Times, said that while everyone will comment on gun control and mental health issues, but “We can point to a mother who should have been more aware”.
“I think constantly about what I could have done differently and wish I would have pushed harder” to be involved in my son’s life. “You have to know your child”.
Peter and Nancy Lanza were successful professionals; a vice-president at a large company and elementary school teacher. They had a nice home in a nice place and had, by all appearances a nice life. It seems that appearances were important.
But it was hollow. Images are not real. Peter and Nancy divorced, and for two years, Peter became disconnected from his ex-wife and son. Their son, Adam Lanza grew up and is now infamous.
His legacy: after studying and planning for years, he killed twenty-six innocent teachers and children at Sandy Hook Elementary School, his mother and himself in the worst rampages in our history. Something went terribly wrong in the space behind giving good days and the image that everything was okay.
As parents, we have to shift from building images to building our children within a real family. Children need parents. They can’t be brought into existence and then left to themselves to grow up or have it be expected that it’s someone else’s responsibility to ensure they’ll not only become whole, but realize great, positive potential.
There’s more involved than pursuing our careers in the guise that we’re providing for the needs of our kids. The lavish things we give them are the least important.
Children must know they’re more valuable than the things we propose to give them. They need to know they are not interruptions to your personal life or distractions from your career, or disruptions to your down-time.
Children need time, energy, attention, wisdom and love invested in them. They need us to know them.
Hindsight is 20/20. Peter Lanza says we should “Fear this happening to you”. I can’t imagine coming to a place where you believe, “I wish he had never been born”.
We can’t predict, nor guarantee the lives our children will lead, but we can absolutely heed this father’s agonizing plea for us to know our kids.
If we choose to know them, invest in nurturing their core, and surrounding them with the right influences and leadership we, not only may prevent tragic ends, but actually enjoy significant connections with our children and see them go on to contribute their best to the world.
<P = Z (know their passions and strengths) x C5 (strengthen their core) x E (surround them with nurturing and leadership)
Diane Runge writes about helping children find their physical, mental, spiritual and emotional balance. The mother of three gifted athletes; a son who played baseball for Bucknell University, a daughter who swims for the University of California – Berkeley swim team while she trains for the Summer Olympics in 2016, and a daughter training for the United States Swimming Jr. National Championship this Spring, Diane Runge believes every child has potential that ought to be maximized. A 1979 graduate of Coatesville High School, Diane went on to earn a Master’s degree in Education from Elizabethtown University in Lancaster County. Her Sportsmomia blog is read by parents around the world. Runge and her husband Scott reside in West Fallowfield.