The horrific shootings out in San Bernardino, California once again have shined a spotlight on gun violence and raised the specter of terrorism in our nation. Sadly, the vast majority of such incidents are “home grown,” but I suspect that given the religious faith of the two killers and the current political climate, much will be said (and done) in the coming weeks which is both misguided and misinformed. In challenging times people will often seek “easy” solutions; build a wall, ban people from entering the country based on religion, carry guns in public, or even “bomb the enemy back into the Stone Age.”
For the sake of our children, we should never give in to fear. One of my mentors used to say on a regular basis, “To live in fear, is to fear to live.” Although the problems we are facing are complex ones, they are solvable, even if it will take years to do so. At such times, I am mindful of the words of President Kennedy, who when trying to rally support for the space program said “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept…”
The challenges facing us now are no less daunting and yet we must be willing to accept them. Sadly, one of the most difficult opponents will be ourselves. Thoughtful actions, guided by reason, compassion and respect are essential to our success. We owe our children nothing less.
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a vigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.