Mary: Unplugging to protect my kids
As if the election ugliness isn’t enough, in the last weeks, the national news has included stories of two brothers murdering a twelve year old girl who was on a bike ride (and their mother turning them into police) and a NYC nanny brutally killing the two young children entrusted to her care. Locally, a serial shooter has terrorized our Michigan highways, firing bullets into cars full of people going about their daily lives. Add to that the issues of abortion and capital punishment and abuse and I can’t help wonder, ‘how will I ever explain this mess to my children?
My seven year old has super-human hearing that allows him to decipher exactly what my husband and I say about him from the next room. He has asked us what is happening “on the highway with a bad person making bad choices.” He is sensitive. And innocent. And impressionable. So what will I tell him on the day he hears the word “abortion” on TV and asks me what it means? How will I explain that a mother has the choice to stop the baby inside of her from growing? How could I even begin to calm his fears if he hears that an innocent girl’s life was taken for her BMX bike parts or that a nanny stabbed two children and left them to die in their bathtub?
The heart-breaking parental task to explain the world’s messiness to our children isn’t unique to our time. But our access to these stories (and at times our inability to avoid them), brings evil into our homes in an inescapable way.
And so I will attempt to present the truth gently. I will be honest with my children about bad people and bad choices and the reality of the world in which we live. But I will balance those truths with the fact that beauty and grace and goodness are alive and well. I will teach them that love conquers hate and that faith trumps fear. I will encourage them to be people of hope rather than people of despair.
And to be light in a sometimes overwhelmingly dark world.