Monday, January 10th, 2011 • No Comments on Explaining Tragedy to Toddlers (Who Will Explain it to Me?)
I don’t know what to say about the tragedy in Arizona that hasn’t already been said. I suppose that as a parent I’m glad Patrick is too young to understand such things—or to not understand them and then look to me for answers. How do I explain bad people, bad actions? How do I explain evil in the world when I don’t fully understand it myself? How do I explain acts of violence on innocent people without breaking down in front of my very innocent little boy?
I don’t know. Thankfully, and selfishly, I don’t have to know this week. But some day sooner than I would like, another tragedy will occur and I’ll have to look into a sweet little face and answer the question, “Why did that man do that, Mama?”
There are a handful of parenting blogs I read; blogs that aren’t overly sweet and cloying and tell it like it is when it comes to parenting. One of those is The Daddy Complex. And I found myself nodding in agreement about how he intends to handle these discussions when his twin boys are old enough to ask the questions:
Personally, I want my boys to be armed (gun-related messaging intended) with as much information about this life as possible. I trust that my boys — and all children for that matter — will understand any situation if I do my job, if I answer their questions, if I talk with them instead of to them, if I give them time to comprehend. So, that means having hard conversations, like one about why a little girl born on the day of our nation’s greatest tragedy was killed by a stranger at a grocery store in Arizona.
Would that we lived in a world where such conversations weren’t necessary.