Accept and help all the children

Dear Editor,

My heart is breaking for the child who felt so alone in our community that the only answer they could come to was violence. We need to wrap that child, and every child, in love.

We need to do better. As grateful as I am for the advocacy (mostly by our youth) that gave us one of the tools that prevented this tragedy from becoming deadly, I also am desperately aware of how much we need to do to ensure that our youth know that our community knows them, loves them, and cares about them.

I don’t pretend to know what to do. But here are some things I’m aspiring to do: Look every child I see in the eyes. Give them a smile. Say hello. Ask how they are and mean it. Know that every mistake is them learning to be a person. See every error as their struggle. Correct with love. See them all. Gay kids, straight kids, pan kids, bi kids, trans kids, kids of color, white kids, preps, A/V nerds, punks, athletes, mathletes, spellers, farmers, artists, introverts, extroverts, conservatives, liberals, fundamentalists, atheists … Every kid. See them and care.

I’m starting with my own, and moving out from there. I can also be there for parents. Some of us are always on time. Some of us are always late. Some of us pack elaborate lunches for our kids. Some of us hope they can get lunch at school. Some of us are housed. Some of us are not. Some of us are healthy. Some of us are not. Some of our work is at home. Some of our work is out of the house. We are all parents struggling not to mess our kids up. We are fortunate that they are so resilient. None of us is better for being judged. None of us is doing it all right. This is not a competition, it’s a community. We do better when we help each other.

What happens to anyone in our small community reverberates through our community. We are in this together.

We have so very far to go. Will you help?

Jason Duquette-Hoffman, Middlebury

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