Hussein Khaled Ahmad, teacher.
Mo’ayyad al-A’raj, eye surgeon.
Charlotte Bacon, sculptor.
Daniel Barden, environmentalist.
Mohammad Husam al-Breem, restaurateur.
Omar Husam al-Breem, muralist.
Hadi Hayel Abu Dahrouj, software developer.
Abdullah Hayel Abu Dahrouj, app developer.
Olivia Engel, veterinarian.
Josephine Gay, actress.
Ana Marquez-Greene, videographer.
Dylan Hockley, video game designer.
Madeleine Hsu, doctor.
Catherine Hubbard, life coach.
Rahaf Abu Jame, wildlife photographer.
Mohammad Issam Jouda, neurosurgeon.
Osama Issam Jouda, human rights lawyer.
Chase Kowalski, triathlete.
Jesse Lewis, anthropologist.
James Mattioli, sports broadcaster.
Grace McDonnell, jewellery designer.
Emilie Parker, writer.
Jack Pinto, sports equipment designer.
Noah Pozner, IT entrepreneur.
Caroline Previdi, cake designer.
Ziad ar-Reefy, nuclear physicist.
Jessica Rekos, horse breeder.
Avielle Richman, champion equestrian.
Benjamin Wheeler, landscape architect.
Allison Wyatt, pilot.
Saba Rami Younis, singer.
Are you wondering who these people are?
Some of them are the children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Others are just a few of the 578 children murdered in Gaza in a two-month period in 2014.
I don’t intend to judge those who killed these innocent children. I list their names to remember that every one of them never had the chance to become adults.
I have imagined what careers they might have pursued as adults. In some cases, I invented their careers based on their interests as children.
Every one of them was a genius as a child. I know this because ALL children are creative geniuses. Every one of them had the potential to make the world a better place as adults. Every one of them was a living, laughing little packet of potential.
We can’t bring them back. We can’t rewind time. But we must never forget what is lost every time a life is cut short. Parents have been robbed of the joy of watching their children blossom into adults. The world has been robbed of future leaders, entrepreneurs, mentors and thinkers.
Who knows if one of these murdered children might have become a Nobel laureate? Who knows if one of them might have discovered a breakthrough cure for cancer? Who knows if one of them might have brokered permanent peace in a historically troubled region?
They are flowers trampled into the ground before they have had a chance to blossom.
Photo by Rubén Bagüés via Unsplash