Reflections: Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School

candles.jpgThis past week, my husband and I entered our son’s elementary school so that we could meet with his teachers for our winter conference. While we were required to sign in, we did not walk through metal detectors and were not asked for our bags to be searched. The reason — we know the security guard, he trusts us and nothing crazy has ever taken place at our local school.
Somehow I think those rules about signing into the school ledger are going to change dramatically now that a crazed 20 year old broke into a school in Newtown Connecticut and senselessly murdered 26 helpless individuals — including 20 defenseless children.
When our kids are no longer safe at school, what can we as parents do to protect them or shield them from something like this never happening again in their lifetime?
After reading and watching the reports about the tragedy, there are facts that are coming to light about the killer that he had a mental disorder, yet his mother still kept guns in her home. And those guns were not securely locked away so that he wouldn’t have access to them. Sure, anyone can say that if he didn’t have guns he would have found another weapon, but having them in his home made it readily available for him to exact revenge on poor unsuspecting first graders and their teachers.
I really am curious to find out more about Adam Lanz over the coming days and hoping we find out the answers to the following questions:
Did he play video games that encouraged senseless killing?
Why was he not taking medication or being treated for his condition?
Did he have any friends?
Where was his father?
Why hadn’t his older brother spoken to him in two years?
What was going on in his mind that drove him to murdering innocent human beings?
Was this a copycat crime that took place as a result of the other senseless shootings that have been occurring all over our nation?
What is happening to this current generation of 20 somethings who feel no remorse about taking a gun and snatching away the lives of children and adults who were deeply loved by their families, friends and neighbors?
According to one Sandy Hook elementary school dad, yesterday’s events was
“a powerless and terrifying experience.” And even President Obama seemed completely shattered after sharing details about this horrific tragedy when he wiped away tears and spoke about the poor defenseless children who went to school yesterday and will never return home to their families. “They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthday’s graduations, weddings, kids of their own.”
As parents, we need to not only hug our kids but teach them about what’s right and what’s wrong. When they are angry at us or someone else, we cannot allow them to find escape through dangerous video games which encourage annihilating others. If they have mental issues that could pose a danger to others, we need to make sure their condition is monitored on an ongoing basis. Most importantly, if you own a gun, keep it locked away in a safe and never share the combination with your child.
This recent tragedy could be the catalyst that will compel lawmakers to outlaw guns that are not used in situations other than hunting animals (which I think is pretty awful too but I’m not about to take on the NRA on that one). It’s time we take a stand and stop this insanity.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by this tragedy and my heart aches for the community of Newtown. I know that no one can comprehend the magnitude of your loss. All we can do is be committed to teaching our children about the importance of being a compassionate human being; monitor your child’s behavior online — either through video game use and social media engagement and be honest with ourselves when it seems that they are spiraling out of control and most importantly, get them help when they need it the most.
For another perspective on the tragedy, read this post by Ross Ellis, founder of Love Our Children USA and Stomp Out Bullying.

Annie the Musical, Back on Broadway

I could not have been more excited to see one of my favorite musicals of all time, Annie! I went to see the revival of the show on Broadway with my husband, 8 1/2 year old daughter and 5 1/2 year old son (his first Broadway show!) and let me tell you, it was amazing. It took all of my will power not to stand up and belt out “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” right along with Annie. Directed by three-time Tony Award® winner James Lapine, the musical you remember is back on Broadway in a brand-new production you’ll never forget. The book and score by the amazing Tony Award® winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin remain the same, with new choreography provided by Tony Award® winner Andy Blankenbuehler.
Lilla Crawford stars as the world’s favorite orphan, who wins over everyone she meets. Two-time Tony Award® winner Katie Finneran plays the hilarious Miss Hannigan and international stage star, Anthony Warlow is wonderful as billionaire Daddy Warbucks. This is hands down one of the best musicals that make you feel good and smile. After all, you’re never fully dressed without a smile. Speaking of which, the kids who play the orphans are unbelievable in this show. The ridiculously adorable Molly, played by eight year old Emily Rosenfeld, stole every scene she was in.
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Watching my daughter’s face, with her eyes wide and her mouth open, made me so happy. I loved being able to share this with her, especially since I have been playing her the Annie soundtrack since she was born. She knows all the words to all the songs. My kids could not stop talking about the rescue dog, Sunny, who plays Sandy. My son left the show saying he wanted to be on Broadway… but only if he can star alongside a real life rescue dog.
If you live in the tri-state area, or plan on visiting NYC – you must buy tickets to see Annie! The entire family will love it.
The all-new Broadway production of ANNIE THE MUSICAL is currently playing at Broadway’s beautiful Palace Theatre in New York City.

VINCI, Inspire the Genius!

Written by Role Mommy Contributor, Danielle Feigenbaum

VS-3001.jpg Call me old fashioned, but I would rather see my kids playing with their Legos, reading or doing an art project, than playing on on a technical device. I do my best to limit the time on their iTouch, the Wii and even watching TV, which is not easy in this day and age. Even though they tell me they are playing an “educational” game, I know that Angry Birds will usually win out. Recently, I was lucky enough to receive the VINCI Tab, a tech device that I actually felt really good about giving to my five year old son.
VINCI Tab was created as a new category of fun learning tools with the goal to engage, empower and educate children. By using a teaching method designed by developmental psychologists, parents encourage their children to participate in constructive play and promote early learning. Unlike any other electronic toy or tablet, VINCI grows with the child by offering the award winning VINCI Curriculum, a step-by-step learning structure comprised of 43 learning subjects and 3 levels of assessment, and covers all 6 aspects of a child’s developing mind: Thinking Skills; Emotional & Social Skills; Language and Literacy; Math & Logical Reasoning; General Knowledge; and Science. The Tab is great for kids ages 2 – 9!
My son, who is in kindergarten, can not get enough of his new “kid iPad” he calls it. He is having so much fun, little does he know he is learning too! There are over 350 amazing Apps you can get (many of them are free!). There is a rubber holder around the touch screen to make it easier for the kids to hold… they really thought of everything. I highly recommend this educational device to anyone who wants to have their children incorporate learning and growing their brains while they have a blast playing with their tech device.
To find out more and purchase one for your child or as a gift, visit
Disclaimer: I received a VINCI Tab to review, all opinions are my own.