I’m lucky that my daughter is only 3 months old. I don’t have to explain to her why some piece of garbage would break into a school and murder first-graders and teachers.
All I have to do is hold her, feed her and entertain her until she’s ready to have another nap.
But I find myself wondering what I’d do if she were older and asked about what had happened and why.
HP doesn’t know anything of evil. I know someday she’ll learn about it — one way or another, no matter how hard I try to protect her. I can check under her bed and through all of her closets, but no matter what I do, there are still plenty of real monsters out there.
Someday, she’ll need to understand that there are bad people in this world, and from time to time, we must face them.
We can do our best to keep them away. We can build sturdy walls and strong communities to make ourselves feel safe, but evil will still try and seek us out.
I’d tell her that her mother and I love her and that we will do all we can to keep her safe.
I’d tell her we must be strong and refuse to give in to fear and hate in times like these. Instead, we must find strength in hope and love because the evil in this world feeds on our fear.
I’d point out that yes, something terrible happened, but it’s important to see how horrible events can bring out the best in some.This quote by Fred Rogers has been making the rounds online lately, and I hope I can remember it should I ever need it:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
I’ll tell my little girl about how scared I was during big disasters that struck when I was her age. It was scary, but the world kept turning and the sun came up the next day.
I grew older and I grew stronger. She will grow older and stronger too.