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Victoria’s Secrets: The good, the bad and the ugly

The good, the bad and the ugly
Sloane with her family after the recital.

It was a great, sun-filled weekend and a celebratory one for my family. But in between visits, I read a disturbing but unfortunately timely biography written by the mother of one of the Columbine killers. 

Sadly, gun violence has gone from bad to worse as mass killings continue to take place across the country, leading to my “Call to Action” in my last column. 

My sunny Saturday began with brunch with my grandkids Addy and Jonah, before his baseball game. I was so happy to hear he was going to be playing catcher — after all, his grandpa and Uncle Josh played the tough position that requires total concentration.

Jonah as the winning team’s catcher!

It was delightful to watch Jonah and his team in action on their way to victory!

A SONGWRITER IS BORN

From there, I traveled to Manhattan to see my youngest grandchild, the feisty and sassy Sloane, smile her way through her dance moves at her annual recital. 

At 7 years old, she’s a presence to be reckoned with. She proved that to me during her music class’s recital on Sunday. 

Stunning Soane dressed for her recital.

Not only did she write her own song, but she was part of a trio that introduced the other 25 performers. A songwriter is born. 

My Bedroom
By Sloane Schneps

My walls are light pink like a piglet
My floors are brown like a dog
My rainbow pillowcase looks like a unicorn
My squishmallow looks like a frog

That’s my bedroom, my personal space
It’s where I go to dream and play
That’s my bedroom, my personal space
It’s where I go to dream and play

My legos are as blue as the wavy ocean
My Little Miss books are as special as me
The view from my window is as pretty as
The top of the Chrysler Building

That’s my bedroom, my personal space
It’s where I go to dream and play
That’s my bedroom, my personal space
It’s where I go to dream and play

What took my breath away was to see her commanding the stage so fearlessly with her pink ukulele in hand. She told me later in the day, “I’m not afraid of being on stage!” She’s a little me!

Earlier in the day, my oldest grandchild Blake, who was just elected president of his high school’s junior class, took another stage.

I was so proud to see him marching into his synagogue to graduate at his confirmation. For a year, he studied philosophy, ethics and religion. He spoke firmly and assuredly about his opinion of euthanasia. I am bursting with pride and am so impressed with the man he is becoming.

Blake at his confirmation.

FINDING A SOLUTION

In stark contrast to all of the good times mentioned above was the sad, shocking news of more shootings across the country.

Peter Tu, president of the Flushing Chamber of Commerce, sends me his thoughts of the day and this one is so pertinent:

“A recent survey found that nearly 60% of respondents feel lonely in their lives. The problem is more serious among young in the 18-24 age group — 80% feel they are isolated from society. Does loneliness not belong to the elderly anymore? We need to care more for each other.”

After reading that, I wondered if that’s part of why suicides amongst young people are at a record high. How do we deal with this?

My editor Oliver Peterson had read my column last week about family influencing the problems of killers and suggested I read the book, “A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy,” written by Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the infamous Columbine killers.

Since I have a great belief in the power of family, I immediately bought the audio book to learn about Dylan’s family.

What I learned shocked and informed me.

Sue tells the story of her upper-middle-class family, which she saw as a “normal” loving family who often shared hugs and were involved in each other’s lives. 

But something went terribly wrong and after Dylan’s suicide and murderous rampage, she found in the basement tapes of her son planning it all. The tapes revealed his desire to commit suicide and take his classmates with him! She could barely recognize the boy in the videos.

Sue and her husband struggled surviving the shock, the shame and blame of her son’s actions.

So many missed signs of his depression and suicidal thoughts and she has spent the years since the tragedy looking for answers.

Her book is a “Call to Action” for all of us

The bad and ugly news is the truth that there is a desperate need for universal mental health care. Sadly few dollars are even available if you have health insurance. Why can’t we create urgent care mental health centers in every neighborhood? So easy and so sensible!

Who knows who will be the next victim of gun violence?

I pray for more joyous days with my children, but I fear for their future. 

It’s each of our responsibilities to make sure our children are safe. So do your part and speak out. Call your elected officials. Help drive change!

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