The same question appeared on my Facebook feed on Monday by several different people. They all asked this:
What the f**k is wrong with our world?
I wish I knew.
And like every other parent out there, I wish I could shield my kids from the news of these repeated horrors. But, I can’t. Because they are old enough to hear about it from friends and the internet. How do I explain to them that yet another incomprehensible act has taken lives?
The northeast has had a tough year.
My kids are now fearful of trees falling on our house, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.
My kids are also worried that a gunman could enter their school. A few weeks after the Newtown tragedy, a man with a gun had tried to enter my son’s middle school. The school was in lock-down mode for a few hours. The man was turned away, but no one ever found out who he was.
And now my kids have to worry about bombs going off at a heavily populated sporting event?
It doesn’t seem fair.
When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, the only thing I had to worry about was missing the school bus or forgetting to do my homework.
For those of you in your 40’s like me, you may remember the air-raid drills they did at elementary school. A siren would go off and we’d all sit in the hallway with our heads between our knees. It seemed ludicrous to me at the time, because none of us thought a bomb was going to drop on our school. Whether it was the fact that it was part of school protocol or just something we grew accustomed to, either way we weren’t scared. We accepted the drill, but it was never something that seemed necessary to any of us. Eventually they stopped the drills, perhaps realizing that sitting with your head between your knees was not going to save you from a nuclear attack.
We don’t want our children to live in fear. We will continue to have conversations with them about what goes on in the world while simultaneously reassuring them that although sometimes bad people do bad things, there are way more good people in the world.
After the news of the Boston bombing broke, I was glued to the TV at first. But then, I couldn’t watch anymore. I took to Twitter and Facebook instead and started to read about the reports of the heroes, those who ran towards the explosions, those who wanted to help, including the runners who kept going, straight to the hospitals to donate blood. That’s what I needed to focus on and still do. I want to teach my kids to do the same. I want them to think about the good people who wanted to help. And to strive to be one of those good people.
Because the alternative is to live with our heads between our knees.