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'Cherish every moment' is lasting lesson from Sandy Hook tragedy

Posted December 13, 2013

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— For Gene and Melissa Hall, who are raising twin 12-year-old girls, the images of last year’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn, are forever etched on their minds.

“You don't believe someone would do something like that,” Gene Hall said.

Added Melissa Hall, “When you're a mom and you see other parents out there hurting, it deeply affects you.”

Melissa Hall Psychologist: Newtown made parents more vigilant

It was a year ago Saturday that Adam Lanza opened fire at the school, killing 20 children and six adults. Dhruti Dholakia, a Cary psychologist and elementary school counselor, says the event is still fresh in the minds of many people.

“I have seen an increase in anxiety in our children, and increase in self-protection," she said.

Dholakia says talking to children about incidents such as Newtown should be based on age and how much parents think the child can handle.

“The right thing would be to know your child and to see how much your child already knows,” she said.

Melissa Hall said she talked to her girls.

“We did talk about it, but I tried not to elaborate a lot,” she said. “I would just answer their questions.”

Dholakia said that, if anything positive has come from the tragedy, it’s that parents and children have become more vigilant about safety and security.

The Halls agree.

“Parents today realize that you just can't teach your kids to be safe. You have to teach them to watch out for others,” Gene Hall said.

Dholakia encouraged families to, “Cherish every moment.”

“You never know,” Melissa Hall said. “You never know when that day could be your last day.”
 

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