Yesterday afternoon my husband led me around the side of our house happy to show me the round, tight buds on the peony bush had finally burst into a surreal explosion of pink ruffled petals. I joyfully clipped two stems loaded with flowers and held them to ours noses to inhale their sweet intoxicating fragrance. I took the peonies inside and carefully arranged them in a glass vase. Admiring them, I sighed out loud, “How can something so beautiful exist in this world?”
At the same time I celebrated the sheer elegance of those flowers, something unspeakably horrific was happening in an elementary school classroom in Texas.
This isn’t the first time I have felt blindly naive focusing on the simple beauty in the world when there is obviously so much ugliness. For as long as I can remember, I have sought out the beauty in the world. As a literature teacher and writer, it became my life’s work. As we elevate beauty, we must also denounce ugliness.
I am certain you, too, are a lover of beauty and are devastated by hideous events such as this latest school shooting. No one thing is going to change the world, but collectively, it could make a difference. In honor of the children who were murdered yesterday by someone who was not much more than a child himself, please consider these ten simple things we can all do to reduce violence and make it a more beautiful world.
- Stop supporting violence in television and movies.
- Stop supporting violence in books and magazines.
- Stop supporting violence in art and music.
- Stop supporting violent video games.
- Reconsider the value of social media.
- Let your words and actions inspire kindness.
- Get involved in your community.
- Protect children from violence in every possible way.
- Vote for politicians committed to sensible gun legislation.
- Fill your daily life with beauty. §
“We can change the world and make it a better place.
It is in your hands to make a difference.”