I don’t know if you can picture my big sigh as I write this post. My heart is so heavy, I’m having trouble carrying it.
Last night, my older two returned home after a weekend with their dad. As I was putting my son to bed, he asked what happened in Paris.
A loaded question.
What happened in Paris?
The truth is, I’m struggling to grasp what happened. Just as I’m struggling to understand Syria. Beruit. Oh so many places across the planet. I still don’t know what happened 9/11. Not really. I struggle to understand why it continues to happen.
For my son, I went through a sanitized physical description because of his tender age. Some very angry men strapped bombs to themselves, took guns and went into crowded places to cause chaos and destruction.
I told him that media reports suggested that the people involved were likely all part of a militant group and that this was a coordinated attack. That they claimed the same religious and ethnic background. That some of them were from parts of the world where these types of things are, sadly, normal occurrences. And lots of people from those parts of the world (and especially Syria) were trying to escape to more peaceful countries – because they can’t understand it either.
I tried to leave him with several messages:
- Religion doesn’t cause terrorism. That no matter what the terrorists claim – no religion was ever intended to cause something like this. Nor is it right to put everyone with the same ethnic background into this category. There is something wrong with people who do things like this. And from what I’ve seen, they are just as likely to be white terrorists who terrorize a university campus.
- The best way to fight this is to live. Not change our lives. Not hide. But live.
- And more importantly – love. We should not close our hearts and our doors out of fear. There are people in this world who need help. If we’re able to help them, we should.
- This is why I don’t like guns. I don’t like violent games or movies. I don’t like anything that could desensitize people to the fact that actual people could be and are hurt every day. I don’t believe this could have been solved if more people had guns.
- Despite what happened, people were banding together. There are reports of strangers helping strangers. The real heros are the ones who stepped in despite the danger. Those who helped. It wasn’t their job – they weren’t police or fire fighters. Just normal people. Who helped.
We need to talk about things like this. They’re scary. I’m scared. I don’t want him to live in fear – but I want him to understand that this isn’t right. I don’t know if we could have done something to change this. I don’t know if we can do anything.
But I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that having these discussions with my children will make them understand that this isn’t right. I’m hopeful that they will grow up to be the helpers.
Have you discussed terrorism with your children? What do you say?
This was my seventeenth post for #NaBloPoMo, #NaNoPoblano and the YeahWriteMe NoMo Challenge.