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Thoughts & Prayers Are Not Enough!

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the tweets and Facebook posts started flying. Lots of thoughts and prayers were offered.

Mere days later, some of those kids who survived that horrific event, were on TV talking about how thoughts and prayers are no longer enough.

They never were.

Of course, I am not saying thoughts and prayers are not good things to offer. I mean, who doesn’t want to be thought about during tough times? (Or any time, for that matter). Who doesn’t want prayers said on their behalf?

That’s not it. It’s totally fine to offer thoughts and prayers, but if that’s all you do when there’s a crisis, then no, thoughts and prayers are not enough.

The same is often said when someone gets cancer, or learns her cancer has progressed, or worse, when that someone dies. Or when anyone dies, for that matter. Thoughts and prayers messages start spilling out all over the place. Again, this isn’t a bad thing, it’s good.

But what does the person with cancer and/or her loved ones really need or want?

What might anyone grieving really need or want?

Might it be something more than thoughts and prayers? 

I think so. Thoughts and prayers, PLUS some action, is more likely what they need or want. And the action needn’t be anything huge.

But something huge is exactly what those students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School managed to do. And not just them, but thousands of other students across the country did as well.

I admire how those kids from MSDHS somehow garnered the strength, courage and determination to start organizing and to start demanding real, meaningful action from lawmakers, in fact, from all adults to DO something.

The March for Our Lives they successfully organized and carried out was inspirational to watch for a lot of reasons, but mostly because the emotions were raw and real and because the movement’s mission was front and center.

Yes, the mission of sensible gun reform. The mission to do something. Now. The mission to save lives. The mission to get people out to vote.

It’s almost embarrassing what a mess my generation has made of the world. Well, not almost embarrassing, it is. There are so many problems, I don’t need to spell any of them out for you, ‘cuz we are all too darn well aware of the many messes.

I don’t know about you, but once in a while, I have felt like, jeez, the future looks bleak for my kids and their kids, much less the kids that come after them. I mean, not all the time, but I have definitely had those moments of feeling sorta hopeless regarding where the world is headed.

What about you?

I feel more hopeful again because of the actions of those kids.

Like those kids have said time and time again, this isn’t a political issue. Or it shouldn’t be.

No, it’s a keep us safe issue.

It’s a ‘kids don’t wanna feel scared in school’ (or at the movies, or at the mall, or in church, or on their street, or in their backyard) issue. It’s a parenting issue. It’s a teacher issue. It’s a life and death issue. It’s a what sort of society we want to be issue.

It’s NOT a we are coming for your guns issue, or a let’s get rid of the second amendment issue.

Again, it is not a partisan issue.

The movement these kids have managed to get rolling in such a short amount of time is truly impressive.

The momentum will only keep building. Change is coming. You can feel it. The movement continues. Learn more here.

I don’t want this post to turn into an all over-the-map ramble, but I do also want to mention a phrase that’s irked me. It fits with this post’s theme.

It’s this one – oh, they’re just kids.

Of course, it’s all about context. Like usual, right?

For example, when those first graders were gunned down at Sandy Hook, they were just kids. No, they were just little kids.

Like so many others, I thought after that, things had to change.

Those kids were just kids. First graders, for crying out loud. They were too young to use their voices, although of course, their loved ones have not been quiet.

My point is, just kids often fits. 

But when someone says, they’re just kids, meaning their opinions aren’t important or suggesting just kids can’t possibly have anything to contribute, well, that’s another story. Then, just kids, takes on a condescending tone – a tone that doesn’t place the same value on kids.

But I’ve digressed…

The message tucked into this post is meant to be one of hope. 

I am feeling inspired and more hopeful because of the actions of a bunch of just kids.

And as far as offering thoughts and prayers when someone I know is newly diagnosed with cancer, or when I hear of another death due to metastatic disease, or when I turn on the news and learn about any troubling event; whenever possible, I’m going to make an effort to offer something more as well.

I’m going to try to DO something, too.

Because thoughts and prayers are not enough!

What about you?

#marchforourlives #votethemout

Call your elected officials. Demand action. Do it today.

No matter what the situation, do you think the phrase, sending thoughts and prayers, has become too rote a response?

How do you feel about the issue of gun safety reform? (As usual, all viewpoints, welcome).

Do you personally know someone impacted by gun violence?

Do you want to read more articles like this one? Click Here.

Thoughts & Prayers Are Not Enough! #gunviolence #advocacy

Beth L. Gainer

Tuesday 29th of May 2018

Hi Nancy,

The tragedies that are shaking are schools are frightening. When politicians speak out against such crimes, I feel outraged because it's just double-speak. Why is it so easy for people in this country to obtain guns?

I'm glad the kids in Parkland Florida, and yes, of course they are also kids, spoke out so forcefully. I feel that so many people are apathetic to some of these crimes because they happen too damn often. Thoughts and prayers aren't enough.


Sunday 22nd of April 2018

I have many spiritual and religious friends who, when they use this phrase, really mean it. I honour their beliefs, even though I think that it's a cop-out to pass these kinds of events over to god, and even more of a cop-out to think that god is going to solve the problem that we humans have created.

However, when I hear "our thoughts and prayers are with you", used so casually by politicians or those in the public eye as a method of deflecting responsibility and in lieu of actions and policies that would remediate the problem, I become a raging granny. I'm really proud of the young people who have taken their trauma and pain as a call to action to implement change. They are amazing kids and to be honest, are much more intelligent in their public speaking skills than many of the politicians. They've given me hope that the new generation will stimulate a social conscience that we haven't seen since the 60s.


Sunday 22nd of April 2018

Lennox, You expressed my sentiments far more eloquently and succinctly than I did! Thank you. And yes, I'm in awe of these kids and their ability to articulate so well whether in front of the cameras or not. They will bring needed change. I believe it. Thank you for sharing your insights.


Saturday 21st of April 2018

First, I am so proud of the kids and their intelligent, proactive voices! I think they're amazing and they give me hope for the future.

Re thoughts and prayers, I think the concept has gotten a bad rap, but I understand. Of course more needs to be done, but many of the people who offer thoughts and prayers are not in a position to do anything, yet their hearts hurt and it's a way of conveying love but also conveying their helplessness, so they offer the one thing that's left. I take it with the spirit in which it is given. However, it's a whole different ballgame for people who are in a position to take some sort of action, even if small, but they robotically utter this phrase in lieu of doing something because they don't feel like it, but want to be seen as caring. That's bullshit.


Sunday 22nd of April 2018

Eileen, I am so proud of them too. I completely agree with your statements regarding thoughts and prayers. It's the robotic response that sounds rather empty sometimes - when there is something tangible that can be done. Or even just rephrasing, for ex, I always apprecieat hearing, I am thinking about you. Sounds more meaningful and more personal, but maybe that's just my interpretation. Thank you for adding to this discussion, Eileen.

Cancer Curmudgeon

Friday 20th of April 2018

I know my politics alienate people too, but I no longer care. The stakes are too high right now. As you know I've been involved in other stuff, like Amy above. There are many similarities between cancer advocacy and political activism, I'm learning. Great post!


Sunday 22nd of April 2018

CC, I appreciate your activism - in Cancer Land, in politics and where ever else you choose to get involved. I totally agree about the similarities. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Amy Smith

Thursday 19th of April 2018

Thank you for writing and posting this, Nancy. I haven't been writing nearly as often as I used to, mainly because I have been working as a local advocate. I recently signed on to help with the political campaign of a newcomer running for state senate. She's brilliant, brave, passionate, and a Millennial, and she's what my state's government needs. She's someone that is listens more than she talks, that observes and then acts. After cancer, the passage of time moves differently. I want my legacy to be that I worked for change and to make a difference. `


Friday 20th of April 2018

Amy, While I miss reading your posts, I am glad you have focused so much of your time and energy working as a local political advocate. Good for you. The candidate you mentioned sounds like a good one to get behind. Keep up the good work. It's needed. Thank you for commenting and sharing what you want your legacy to be. I'd say your well on your way.

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