Please Try to Be Very Quiet and Still

Read: 5 Things You Can Do to Make a Difference

Like most of us, I cannot get the tragic events of last week’s mass school shooting off my mind. To be one of those families that lost a loved one is unfathomable. My 10 and 12 year old understood full well the horror of what happened. Both were saddened, angry and upset, but sadly neither was shocked. What a world. My 12 year old asked, “Why does this keep happening? Why would a teenager have a gun like that?”

My youngest, on the other hand, accidentally saw a few clips of tv footage showing police cars outside of the school and children running for their lives. She asked what happened and I told her something bad happened at a school. She followed with, “Is everyone ok?” At that point, the number of deaths was known so I told her, “I hope so.” I wasn’t sure that she completely grasped from the images what had occurred and I decided to leave it at that unless she asked me more.

That night, as we lay in bed after reading, I asked her if they ever had emergency drills at her elementary school. “Yes,” she replied, “there are two kinds of drills. This was new to me. “One sounds like this” and she made low beep sounds. “When we hear that one, we know that’s it’s a fire drill. We line up and go outside.”

“And the other one?” I asked. “The other one sounds like this” and she made several high-pitched sounds. She said, “When we hear that one, we know that there’s an animal in the school. We are supposed to hide with our teacher and be very, very quiet and still.” She paused for a moment and said, “Mommy, the last time we did that drill my hair got caught on something. I knew I should be quiet, but it hurt and I yelled ‘ouch.’”

My heart sank and I felt a wave of anxiety come over me. If she had to be quiet, could she should be? She’s just a little girl. Rationally the chances of it happening at our school are slim, right? I said calmly, “But I bet you could be very quiet and still if you really needed to be, like if there really was an animal in the building, right?” Her little brow crinkled and she thought for a moment and said,  “I’ll try.”

As I lay in my bed sleepless that night, this is what I prayed for: please try to be quiet and still. Please try to be quiet and still if you’re ever in a nightmare scenario where some maniac is roaming your school with semi-automatic gun designed for the military hunting terrified, innocent children down. Please, be so quiet that you go unnoticed and come home safe to live the full life that I have always dreamed of for you. What a thing to pray for.

Did you know that since 2013, there have been nearly 300 school shootings in America?

Talk to your children. Here are our tips on how to talk to your children about tragedy. Know your child and their limits. Answer the questions they have, not the ones you think they should have.

Read: 5 Things You Can Do to Make a Difference

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."


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