Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing

Do I tell them, or not?

Do I tell them of yet another unspeakable act of horror, another killing of innocents, another terrifying day in our country's fast-growing history of violence?

Do I omit the part about the 8-year-old boy who was killed?
The dozens of people who lost their limbs in the sudden explosions at the finish line?

Will this make them think of times they've stood at the finish line for me?  Will it make them fearful to do so again?  Will they worry about their Boston relatives (who are very much safe and okay )?

If I don't tell them, who will?  An older kid on the bus?  A classmate or friend?  A teacher who might choose a different explanation from what I might hope they hear?

If I don't tell them, am I sheltering them too much from the realities of this frightful, angry, violent world?

In not telling them, am I failing to equip them in grappling with Bad and Scary?  In not telling, do I deny them the opportunity to struggle and wail and cry when they are still young enough to then be held and rocked, comforted and made to feel safe again, simply in the power of a loving embrace?

If I don't tell them and someone else does, will that make them more afraid?  Or will it make them think it's unimportant, since Mom or Dad wasn't the one to share the news?

Am I desensitizing them in telling them?  Am I desensitizing them in NOT telling them?

Will I overburden their tiny shoulders with the weight of so much grief, having already watched them struggle through the knowledge of Newtown in mid-December, and then the death of a 10 year old in our community, the sister of a former classmate?

We know that violence is cumulative; does the same hold true for grief?

I will tell them.  I will tell them gently and carefully.  I will tell them, and then I will repeat the same wise words that parents everywhere are sharing, the wisdom of the late Fred Rogers.  I will tell them to look for the helpers, and I might even describe some of the examples of the helpers we've learned about in the hours since the bombs detonated.

I will tell them to look for the helpers, because I want them to see the good in the world, the beauty among that which is brutal.  I want them to know that even amidst death and devastation, there is love and kindness and compassion and care.   The good guys will always outnumber the bad guys.

I will tell them, because I want them to know about the helpers.

Because some day, I want them to BE the helpers.

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