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Family Talk: Tragedy in Newtown

A day after a senseless act claimed the lives of 27 people a community and nation are left to pick up the pieces.

There used to be a time when a child's school was considered safe.

With Friday's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, it seems that we are further removed from that idea than ever before.

As reported on Newtown Patch, 27 people lost their lives. Of that number, 20 were children.

There are no words to possibly express what the affected families and community of Newtown are going through right now.

One minute you're dropping off your child to school - the second safest place to you and your child after your own home - and not even two hours later, you're learning that your life has been changed forever in a way you never could have fathomed.

Reading and hearing the reports as the drama unfolded and bits and pieces of information were made available to the media, I did what I am sure many other parents did - I cried.

I thought of my own kids and how much hearing of what transpired yesterday scared me. I ran through my mind all those mornings that we were rushing to leave the house and didn't take the time to really enjoy each other before jumping in the car to drop them off to school.

I thought of the mornings when I repremanded my son or daughter for not having their bookbags packed the night before as I'm always instructing them to do. Or, all of the mornings when I gave them a quick kiss good-bye before rushing them into the door of their school.

The reality that something like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School could happen anywhere shook me to my core as I am sure it did millions of parents, teachers and school personnel across the country.

Discussions at school dismissal time were filled with heartfelt sympathy to all those living through this ordeal and all those that have not.

An overwhelming sense of gratitude for the children parents were waiting to pick up filled the air and the affirmation to cherish each and every one of our kids and every moment we have with them was abundant.

Media coverage of what happened continues to broaden, moving into reports of how to help the affected families of Newtown and details of specific victims.

Nothing can change what happened on Friday.

Attention to how to avoid such acts of violence in proactively tackling problems has already began to surface and will surely continue.

From gun control laws to mental health policies, many of those looking in from the outside have their opinions on how this could have been prevented as well as how to keep it from happening again.

Aside from all of those discussions, a key takeaway for parents - at the risk of sounding overtly somber - is to appreciate and make the most of every moment of every day with your kids.

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