The idea was that I would not go in yesterday. I was coming off of several weeks of major projects that seemingly placed the very future of our company on my shoulders. But my calendar was a mess, so I headed over to the office.
I spent much of yesterday helping other people figure out what to say, and when to say it. We are part of that community in Connecticut and we locked down four of our centers. We needed to talk to parents there, and parents everywhere were looking for some manner of reassurance yesterday.
When I heard that the president struggled to get through his statement, my first thought was that he must have mentioned that he is a parent. I have had to address media after something terrible has happened to a child, and I have used similar words. No matter how much you try to wall yourself off in order to get your job done, no matter how important you know it is to show compassion and resolve and to never make it about you, once you say those words—once you say, “…as a parent…”—you are done.
The most junior member of my team spent much of yesterday with me, and she did a terrific job supporting our people. And while I know her performance is because of her talents and work ethic, I do think she is aided on days like yesterday by her youth.
It is youth that makes yesterday even more horrific. They were babies. There is doubtless a real need to have real discussions and actions around firearms and mental illness in this country (and NOW), but we should never lose sight of the evil that entered that school yesterday. The thought of what those children endured, what their last look at this world was composed of, is enough to compel someone to either curl up further in his faith, or abandon any faith at all.
Today, I’m one of those parents who needs reassurance. I join everyone else who feels like they just have to say something. But despite whatever I tried to do yesterday or will try to do tomorrow, I really and truly have no words at all.