Tragedies can inspire teachable moments, community helpers

Published 8:32 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Just before Valentine’s Day, Ken and Jan Kilpatrick of Hope Afield ministry’s Blessings Farm discovered the farm’s four pet goats had been slain in their own pen.

Ken Kilpatrick described what he found — dead goats, shot in the neck, appearing to have been facing their killer.

That scene paints a grim picture of senseless violence perpetrated by someone, as yet unidentified, who failed to realize the worth those goats held in the Butler County community.

Email newsletter signup

Community members, especially the children, who visit the farm were saddened and outraged by the slaying and Kilpatrick, the farm’s co-owner, asked for prayers as the ministry moves forward with the mission of helping children.

In times of tragedy, communities come together to help, mourn, and share feelings over what has happened. Anger is a normal part of the grieving process, but tragedies can inspire teachable moments when handled with care.

Kilpatrick has turned this tragedy into one such teachable moment. After the loss of the beloved pets, he now shares the story with visiting children and explains that sometimes bad things do happen to good people.

Several people have offered to donate goats to the farm, an effort intended to ease the pain the Kilpatricks and the extended community have experienced over the loss.

Some tragedies invoke outrage, which can escalate towards violence, bullying, and even criminal activity in response.

But in this case, Butler County citizens, while hurt and disappointed, responded with love, donations, and prayer for the Kilpatricks and for each other.

That response is a teachable moment for the entire community.

Bad things happen; they happen to good people and not-so-good people. The outcomes depend upon the response.

Community citizens have the opportunity to “take the high road.” Like the Kilpatricks and those who stepped up to help, people can grieve a tragic loss but still produce positive outcomes which offer comfort and improve the lives of those impacted.

We commend the Butler County community on their response to this tragedy. Let us all seek the teachable moments in whatever we experience and strive to be the helpers who move communities forward with better outcomes because of our involvement.