This past Friday morning, December 14th, 2012, I was up early buying eggs and other ingredients for a Kids Cookie-Baking Class and Party that I was going to teach later that day. Two loving parents hired me to teach their cookie-baking-loving daughter and her 9 friends how to bake and decorate cookies from scratch. These kids, all aged between 3-5 years old, were in for a treat because I LOVE teaching others how to bake incredible treats, especially kids.
I started the day thinking like a child so that I could really craft an experience that these kids would remember for a long while. I bought a variety of chocolates, colorful candies, like M&Ms, and I prepared my my kid-favorite hot chocolate so that kids could have the perfect beverage to accompany their dozens and dozens of freshly baked cookies.
Before I headed to the teaching kitchen, I stopped by my house to grab a few things. I turned on the TV, and like many of you, saw a massive police surge surrounding an elementary school in Connecticut. I couldn't imagine what kind of issue was impacting a school of little kids, but I assumed it was something benign or environmental, like a gas leak. However, when the reporter came on to say the breaking news was a school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I was sent to state of shock.
This announcement was at 9:00PST, just a couple of hours after the incident and still early in the story's development. I knew there was a shooting, but at the time, no reported fatalities. My heart was heavy and my brain couldn't comprehend yet another shooting, especially at an elementary school. Before I fully understood the magnitude of the tragedy, I was off to teach my 10 little kids how to make cookies, to celebrate a birthday of a 4 year old, and to usher in the goodwill that the Holidays of Hanukah, Christmas, and Kwanza bring this time of year.
As I taught the class, laughed with the kids, and made messes and cookies, I was inspired by their joy and happiness over the littlest things. "Can I lick the spoon" "Can I eat this chocolate chip, Pleeeeeeaaaassssseee? It'll make my day". :-)
Coming home, 8 hours after the story broke, I learned of the fatalities and my heart broke again for the families.
In this time, there is no "right" thing to say or do. Our nation has a heavy heart over the loss of innocent children and their teachers. Our politicians and policymakers will scramble to make sense of this horror and to try to find political solutions, if any exist.
What the rest of us can do is be a little nicer to others, hug our loved ones and keep them close, and maybe find a little time to bake cookies with the kids in your life.
We can also make a donation to those groups, like the United Way, who are raising funds to help with the memorials of the lost, the counseling services for those in need of the post-traumatic stress challenges, and other relief efforts.
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