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Hailey would have turned eleven.

Hailey's Playground at West Port School and Park
Hailey's Playground at West Port School and Park
Chuck Kensinger

It seems only right to commemorate Hailey Owens' birthday as she would have turned eleven. Celebrating her life is much more constructive than focusing on the tragedy that ended it entirely too soon. If you are not familiar with Hailey, go to the articles listed below and review what was previously reported. Springfield Christians and non-Christians were devastated by the news that such a horrific event could take place in our little Midwestern city.

The family planned a celebration for Hailey at the American Legion Post 639. Lanterns were released to honor not just Hailey, but other victims and missing children. There was a ride following that led to the park at Westport School that was named for Hailey earlier this year.

Thinking about her makes us appreciate the other children in our lives. Just as the family wanted to add victims and missing children to the remembrance of their daughter that was a victim, God should be thanked for all the children. The playground named in her honor would undoubtedly give her pleasure because her friends and others can enjoy it and remember her.

As all children she wanted to grow up. That has been taken from her. To honor her we can do more than remember her on this birthday. Be kinder to children. Don't give them everything they think they want, but give the intangibles that we all need. Love, compassion, understanding, patience and above all time. It is the most precious gift we can offer a young one.

A story I have read often tells of a school teacher that asked her class to define what grandparents are. One student related that, among other things, grandparents had time. They have time for their grand children because they have made it through the process of raising their own offspring. That was hard work and they need a rest. They also know that their children now have the difficult job that they are almost finished with. Make the burden easier for them. Be another adult that loves, supports and appreciates the kids.

Some children are doubly blessed. They also have great-grandparents. Our added life expectancy in this country makes this possible for more to enjoy. Don't miss that chance. Enjoy the children while you can. Make their lives better for having known you.

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