Monday, December 17, 2012

Dinner Chat

We didn't talk to the kids about what happened in CT this weekend.  Honestly, we were so busy I was glad not to have any time to really think about it.  Although today I worried they'd hear something about it and realized it was time to talk to them about it so they could hear it from me.  Just like our sex talk, getting correct information is way more important and we feel that hearing things from your parents up front also helps them to get used to coming to us with questions and issues.

So nonchalantly at dinner tonight I asked if the kids had heard anything about something that had happened at a school last week.  Caroline's radar immediately went up and she started asking the 5 W's right away.  I told them very basics that a mentally ill man got into a school and shot some people.  (I defined mentally ill to them too.)  I told them that people had died and that the man was also dead - that he had killed himself because he was so sick.  They asked a few questions and I assured them that they were safe and that this man couldn't hurt anyone anymore.  They were more interested in why someone would kill himself and how he did it.  Again, I reiterated that only someone that had a lot of problems and was very "sick" would do something like that and I told them how he killed himself.  I didn't go into any of the details of how it played out but they do know that some children were killed.  But I told them the stories about how some teachers saved a lot of children and how it is very important that the always listen to their teachers, especially if there is trouble. We talked about how they do things like fire drills to practice emergencies and that drills of this nature were no different.  Quite honestly, I was shocked at how easily they took it.  I assured them our school system is doing the utmost to look out for them and that their teachers are wonderful people who are there to help them.  I told them how many people had come to help and they liked hearing that.  And in the blink of an eye...the talk was over and the topic moved onto something else.

Some might think that as non-believers that these kinds of topics are hard for us because we don't have the comfort of believing in a higher power.   Strange as it may sound, they aren't.  Our kids are being brought up to believe that life happens and there's no rhyme or reason sometimes.  Both wonderful and horrible things happen for no good reason. The only thing you can do is to be grateful for each day, find the good in everything, and to value and respect the people in the world around you.  This kind of tragedy is so sad.  So incredibly, horribly, gutwrenchingly sad.  But there's no reason it happened other than a deranged person who clearly needed more help than he was given and made a horrific decision.  It wasn't retribution because prayer isn't allowed in schools or that gay marriage is allowed in Connecticut as I keep seeing over and over on Facebook.   I find comfort in the fact that I don't believe there is any supreme being judging my behavior and doling out punishments and rewards.  Just as there was no reason those poor children were taken from their families.  And as I sit here tonight and think about this, I am thinking of those poor parents who are missing their child tonight and how impossible it must feel.  I cannot even fathom it.  I wish them peace and comfort and hope that their love and memories shared with their child will always be with them.  Life is so short and fragile but it is because it is so delicate that we value it so greatly.

(I should add too that just as we don't believe we are being judged by a higher power, we also do not judge others based on their beliefs.  It is important that everyone finds their source of comfort and is able to practice their beliefs as they wish.  It's not my business whether you pay homage to Allah, Zeus, or Jesus just so long as we can all respect one another's right to believe....or not.  We're all humans and I hope we can respect one another's humanity.)

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