Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, recently penned a letter to parents where she shared ideas for speaking to children about the massacre that took place in a Newtown, Conn. elementary school on Dec 14.
In the letter written to parents, Obama expresses how she and her husband, the President of the United States, were affected after learning that 20 students and 6 staff members were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"Like every American, Barack and I are absolutely heartbroken about the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, Connecticut. And like so many of you, our first reactions were not as a President and First Lady, but as a Mom and Dad," the First Lady wrote in the letter that appeared on the White House website. "We were asking ourselves, what if this had been our town, or our school, or our girls?"
Obama acknowledged that children may need extra love, support and communication after learning about the recent tragedy and suggested some specific things to tell them.
"We can tell our kids that we're doing everything we can to keep them safe and make sure they feel loved – and so are their teachers, coaches, faith leaders, Scout leaders and everyone else who plays a role in their lives," Mrs. Obama wrote. "We can remind them to be grateful for the educators who work every day to help them achieve their dreams – and for the first responders who risk their lives at a moment's notice to protect ours."
While the First Lady also spoke about the courage of those in Newtown, she also spoke about the importance of telling children to stand by the people in the Connecticut town.
"And finally, we can tell them that it's our job now to stand with the people of Newtown – to pray for them and to find ways, large and small, to show them that they are not alone in their grief. It is now up to us to carry the memory of those who were lost in our hearts and to follow their example every day, living our lives as they lived theirs – with courage, determination, hope and love," Obama wrote. "Those are the values that give us our strength as Americans and that we return to in times of crisis – not just because they help us heal, but because they define who we are, as a people and as a nation."
Before ending her letter, Obama spoke about healing from the tragedy with the help of God.
"May the memories of those we lost be a blessing to their families, their community and our country, and may God be with the people of Newtown as they begin the slow and painful work of healing and moving forward," Mrs. Obama wrote.