Inspiration: a bit of everything...(#NowIsTheTime edition)

President Barack Obama signs executive orders initiating 23 separate executive actions after announcing new measures to help prevent gun violence, in the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., Jan. 16, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Generally, in these inspiration posts I stick to popping in pictures of lovely beautiful things I've come across. Images that have something so lovely, compelling or clever in them that I just have to save them and share them. Pretty places, the cut of a beautiful dress, a reference for an idea that's just popped into my head. Sometimes, it's other things that inspire more than just a moment. Sometimes the idea is much larger and it's something that I want to hold on to much more tightly and sharing seems so much more important. The videos below are something that I find so impressive, important and inspiring all at once that I am giving each a space of their own here today. The videos are of the four children that appeared with President Obama when he gave his press conference unveiling his recent plan to move towards reducing gun violence.

These children were selected to read letters they had written, representative of many letters written by children, to the President following Sandy Hook asking for change. If you need to be inspired, here you go. If you want to know truly why we need to not just reduce, but do everything in our power to end gun violence, here you go. If you need to see just how much smarter our children can be than all of us smart, educated, mature & grown- up adults, here you go. If you have, like I have,  seen too many videos lately of people explaining why they deserve the right to have an arsenal in their home or so sure that I am safer because they are carrying a gun or taking their children to buy assault rifles before they are banned, here you go. This is the reason why we need to protect our children, not by arming our teachers, not by carrying guns ourselves, but by making it so that they do not need to be afraid and so that they truly are safe. If they can be smart enough to understand this issue, why is it so hard for so many of us to do the same?

I just want to drop in one more item here, a quote from the transcript of President Obama's speech that day. The entire transcript is available along with the full video of the event. I encourage you to read or watch it in its entirety.

This is the land of the free, and it always will be. As Americans, we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights that no man or government can take away from us. But we’ve also long recognized, as our Founders recognized, that with rights come responsibilities. Along with our freedom to live our lives as we will comes an obligation to allow others to do the same. We don’t live in isolation. We live in a society, a government of, and by, and for the people. We are responsible for each other.

The right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to Sikhs in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. The right to assemble peaceably, that right was denied shoppers in Clackamas, Oregon, and moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado. That most fundamental set of rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness — fundamental rights that were denied to college students at Virginia Tech, and high school students at Columbine, and elementary school students in Newtown, and kids on street corners in Chicago on too frequent a basis to tolerate, and all the families who’ve never imagined that they’d lose a loved one to a bullet — those rights are at stake. We’re responsible.

When I visited Newtown last month, I spent some private time with many of the families who lost their children that day. And one was the family of Grace McDonald. Grace’s parents are here. Grace was seven years old when she was struck down — just a gorgeous, caring, joyful little girl. I’m told she loved pink. She loved the beach. She dreamed of becoming a painter.

And so just before I left, Chris, her father, gave me one of her paintings, and I hung it in my private study just off the Oval Office. And every time I look at that painting, I think about Grace. And I think about the life that she lived and the life that lay ahead of her, and most of all, I think about how, when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now — for Grace. For the 25 other innocent children and devoted educators who had so much left to give. For the men and women in big cities and small towns who fall victim to senseless violence each and every day. For all the Americans who are counting on us to keep them safe from harm. Let’s do the right thing. Let’s do the right thing for them, and for this country that we love so much.