As a blogger, I sometimes hit "dry patches". I'm a good writer, but sometimes I just don't have material that I think is worth sharing with my audience. On Sunday night, I usually line up various posts for the week, but I didn't have too much on my agenda to prep and share. Until today.
I hope this post doesn't get lost in the sea of blog posts that I am sure are circulating after the tragedy that struck in Boston today. As a mother, a cousin of a runner who passed the finish line moments before the bomb went off, as well as a concerned citizen of our country, I am taking pause and reflection to the events that are unfolding. But let's back up just a bit.....
It's tax day! This doesn't have much to do with what has happened in Boston, but everything to do with sharing and teaching our children. I didn't intentionally set out to inform my children about taxes, but I was dropping a package off at the post office today and I mentioned "oh, it's tax day, the post office is going to be nuts?". This, of course, was followed by the question "what is tax day?". For my 7 and 9 year old, I try to put it in simplistic terms. I used an example of the money needed for firemen, police, and schools and that tax dollars pay for this. I didn't bore them with deductions and how taxes are calculated, but they got the general idea that you have to do a "report" every year and you might have to pay money.
Then, Boston happens. I picked them up at school and as we walked home, I asked if this was talked about at school today. It had not. I start in trying to explain the series of events, the explanation as to why this might happen (i.e. terrorism, mental illness, etc.). We got home and I let them watch a little of the news coverage of what happened. That led to more questions. What is terrorism? What is mental illness? Why would someone hate our country? How can people get help if they are sick? Again, I try to thoughtfully explain why this might happen. But in a child's eyes, things are so cut and dry, black and white. "That is just wrong!" "Why would someone do that!" "Where can people go if they are mentally sick and need help?" "Who is the FBI?"
Talk about being overwhelmed at how to explain this all to young children! I felt confident in my explanation, but I didn't have all the answers when it came to feeling safe. As my daughter climbed into bed tonight, she began to cry. She was scared and didn't feel safe. Then the words just flowed from my mouth "Good always triumphs over evil". As I said it, though, I knew a child like my daughter would want proof, an explanation, a guarantee.
I started with thinking back on the news coverage she saw.....we don't know how many people were behind the bomb, but look at all the people helping! The police, military, citizens, news reporters, and more were aiding in the effort to help the victims and provide assistance. It was the continued efforts of the FBI and police to find out who might have set these bombs that also shows good over evil.
She is still plagued. Why does this happen in the first place? Why would someone do this? Why is there "bad" in the world? This is such a tough question to answer, both to myself and for my children.
First, although tragic, events like this do let you see the overwhelming good in the human race to help others, seek resolution, and grow from tragedy. We all have that common feeling that we know that this was awful and we are in the majority that this is wrong and we must triumph. I tried to
emphasize this to my daughter, that good always prevails. Yet there was no good the moment that bomb went off? How do you explain that?
But back to the question of why this would happen in the first place? It's just wrong, why would this happen? I felt like a conversation about sin might be in order (honestly, my husband would be the better candidate to turn to the bible for consultation and comfort). But there are plenty of awful things that happen that have nothing to do with sins committed (i.e., fatal diseases like cancer, car accidents, miscarriages). So then it becomes a more simplistic conversation of "why do bad things happen?" That I did not have an answer for; but I was adamant about enforcing the belief that we always learn from these experiences. That people ultimately want to feel safe and live their lives in peace. That good truly always triumphs over evil. I believe that.