How Do We Support the Children?

Wherever we go, people are talking about the shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. Sometimes we sense also a feeling of not being able to have one more conversation. Have you had times of heartache and helplessness, of wanting to do something and not knowing what?

Poet Anne Yeomans created a poem with the names and ages of the children in Texas, including Eliahana, Layla, Uziyah, Xavier. I held her poem and read each name, then touched their faces in the newspaper report.

Something to do. May 25th on the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd there were standouts in twelve locations along the major roads in Franklin County.  Holding a sign on Route 2, I heard some cars honk support while other drivers signaled disapproval. 

Back ten years ago at the time of the Sandy Hook school shooting, I remember learning the news from the radio as I drove at night. I stopped my car alongside the road and wrote a song for children as I was crying. How could I find words that might lend support to children of any school in the country?

To my shock a month later I actually got to sing that song in Sandy Hook to a gymnasium full of families. To create a program for healing, children’s dance programs from the area had combined, and I was there as a representative of the Children’s Music Network. I stepped up to the microphone and felt the close feeling in the room. You could hear a pin drop. I didn’t need to introduce the song or explain it was written for them.

Hold hands and stick together. 

Hold hands when something shatters.

Hold hands. You’re not alone now.

Hold hands. Our hearts matter.

We breathed together. We felt the shattering and also felt the heart power in the room. I bring the lyrics to you today as we all work with our helplessness and our heartache. 

What can we do to hold hands? How do we support the children?

Rev. Sarah Pirtle