Boston Marathon Bombing: Is This The New Normal?

April 17, 2013 in Family life

Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.



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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Janine Huldie April 17, 2013 at 8:16 am

I am so with you on this Emily. Just yesterday, we were driving home from school and Emma started talking about no power and Hurricane Sandy. How months ago was that? And she still remembered it like yesterday. I truly don’t want my kids to live in fear and just wish for more good and less evil at this point for my children.


ohboymom April 18, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I know, it breaks my heart that my kids are afraid of things happening that were nowhere on my radar when I was their age. It’s truly sad.


Amy April 17, 2013 at 8:51 am

This is exactly what I’ve been feeling, but couldn’t quite express. Thank you for writing this! I hope this isn’t the new normal.


ohboymom April 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I thought you did a great job expressing your thoughts about this too. I always feel “blocked” after a tragedy and yet I always need to write something, even if it’s only half-way coherent.


Julie Chenell DeNeen April 17, 2013 at 9:35 am

Wow. When you lay it all out like that – it’s true. The Northeast seems to have been hit really hard with big time trauma stuff this past year. Then I think about all the other parts of the world that deal with this every day and I just cannot imagine….


ohboymom April 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I agree, that when you put into perspective what the other parts of the world deal with every day, it’s hard to believe. And it’s downright scary.


Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. April 17, 2013 at 9:44 am

Well done. I have to say, I have felt strangely guilty that I haven’t been glued to the TV coverage like I was with Newtown and even Hurricane Sandy. I’m sure you saw the Mr. Rogers meme floating around FB, about “looking for the helpers.” That seems to be the best take-away message here.


ohboymom April 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Yes, I have seen the Mr. Rogers meme (which also floated around after Newtown) and I suppose I was writing with that in mind…I too felt guilty that I wasn’t glued to the coverage this time, and I can’t figure out if it’s because I can’t bear to hear about tragedy anymore or if I’m becoming immune to it.


Cyndi April 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

I love what you say here, especially the last part: we don’t want our children to live in fear. There ARE far more good people and we generally don’t hear about all the good in the world: the new technologies to help cure cancer, the child genius who figured out nano technology, the amazing olympian who won despite all the odds, all the people who offer help on a daily basis to those in need and the list goes on. I, too, can get so wrapped up and focused on the evils that riddle our world, but then I look at those videos they keep replaying and there were so many heroes and people who reached out to all those in need. The NE has had it rough – I was thinking about that. I am sending you thoughts of love and big hugs and I hope you have a peaceful day.


ohboymom April 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Thanks Cyndi, I love how you pointed out some of the specifics of all the “good.” We need to remind ourselves of those, especially now.


Elizabeth Lee April 17, 2013 at 10:26 am

I hate to think this is the new normal, but who knows these days. Even so, we have to choose to live life to the full. Here’s how I responded to the bombing:


ohboymom April 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Thank you for sharing your post (as well as for commenting on mine)…I actually read your post the other day but I can’t remember if I commented so I’m going back now to read it again.


grownandflown April 17, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Duck and cover is not an adequate parenting technique and I wonder how our kids are going to absorb these body-blows to their psyches. Going back to 9/11, there have been way too many terrible tragedies and I do feel like the northeast has had more than its share. Not sure how to show strength as a mom.


ohboymom April 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I agree, that it’s so hard to be a model of strength for our kids through all of this. I always say that kids are more resilient than adults, but I do wonder what this is doing to their own inner strength.


Jill April 17, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Very well said!


Michelle April 17, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Well said. While we want our kids to remember to be careful, there are also those that do genuinely care and would do anything to help…..and we have to help this group, in whatever way we can to grow. Brilliant, Emily.


ohboymom April 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm

You’re right Michelle, we have to show them how to look beyond the evil and learn how to help.


Kristi Campbell April 18, 2013 at 12:09 am

I remember the air-raid drills at school. I also remember my parents telling me to not approach a white van with a man who was giving “candy” out. I don’t remember hearing about my school being in lock-down and it horrifies me that your sons’ school has done so. Especially because a man with a gun was trying to enter? WTF.
You are so right though, that we do NOT want to live with our heads between our knees. Although I do. My husband works for DOD and ____ _____ ____ because hello. The attention-seekers need to find better ways of making their points. Hurting our children? Not working.

Would love an update on your mom, by the way….


ohboymom April 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I agree, it’s hard not to have the mentality of living in fear or “ducking for cover” as one of my other commenters put it. But since locking our kids in a room for the rest of their lives isn’t an option, I know we have to find ways to rise above all this tragedy.


Melanie Chisnall April 18, 2013 at 5:28 am

I also hope this isn’t the new ‘normal’. We live here with electric fencing around our walls and burglar bars on all the windows, house alarms, and goodness knows what else. It feels like nowhere is safe these days. But people live in worse conditions all over the world fighting war every day. I can’t even imagine that. We can’t sit and hide and wait, you’re right. I don’t know what to say….can’t think of anything positive right now. :(


ohboymom April 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm

I know, it’s hard to be positive in light of all this tragedy. I agree that it’s worse in other parts of the world, but we owe it to ourselves to move past the evil and find the good in humanity.


karen April 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm

great post and well written. yes, I don’t want to live in fear. I do want to teach my son to watch for dangera nd pay attention, but not live in fear. Looking for the heroes and helpers is the best way to deal with the sickos in the world.


ohboymom April 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Yes, completely agree!


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