Sometimes bad things happen and I do everything in my power to shelter my kids from it. I don’t want them to think about it or worry over it. Friday was one of those days. I received an update on my phone with breaking news of the shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut. I quickly turned on the tv and started listening to the report. Hunter heard the tv turn on so he made his way to the living room. As they started describing the events that took place, I quickly turned off the tv. I didn’t want the images or thoughts taking place in my little child’s mind who already has nightmares. I monitored the news from my phone and debated whether I discuss with it Hallie. She came home from school and I hugged her tight but decided against discussing with her.
We sent her to Steve’s parents house for the night with other cousins for the annual “Nana Sleepover”. The next evening at dinner Hallie brought up the fire drill she had at school last week which seemed oddly off topic. She also talked of another drill, but she couldn’t remember what it was for. She kept talking about the drills. It was as if she was opening a line of communication, and I took the bait. We talked about the drills she had at school and we went on to explain that sometimes bad things happen at school and it is so important to listen to her teacher. The drills are just practice so everyone has an idea of what to do, but really the teacher will guide them in every situation.
As we talked of bad situations that might happen she brought up the shooting. I was more than surprised because I knew without a doubt she didn’t hear about it at our house. She explained that a cousin at the sleepover told her about it. She was sad for the families and really sad for the kids. “How come they didn’t do their drills?” “How did he get into the school?” “But why would someone do that?” She had honest questions that she was truly seeking the answers for. But there were few answers we could give her that she was satisfied with.
As we talked my heart ached. More than anything I wanted her to feel safe. Just because it happened somewhere, doesn’t mean it will happen here. Her “what-if” questions were arguably the hardest questions because it meant I played the situation out in my mind to answer her; which always ended in tearful eyes. We talked of a loving Savior who will comfort those that are mourning and the beautiful place in heaven for every one of those lives taken. That seemed to satisfy her and her questions were over.
Although her questions were over, my thoughts weren’t. It’s so hard to see such violence involving such innocent and pure individuals and at times it’s nearly impossible to not ask, “Why children?” It is evident there is bad in the world. I will do my best to help my children navigate around it. But more importantly I will teach them there is good. There will always be good. I love the following verse from “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”:
“And in despair I bowed my head: ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said, ‘For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth good will t’wards men.’
“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead nor doth He sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth good will t’wards men.'”
I pray for the families of all those that lost someone they loved and for all those that had to be a witness of the tragedy. God is real and he heals. That I know. I hold these little ones just a little bit tighter.