We can come together as a people during the aftermath of tragedy but we cannot make it go away. We can cry, pray, hope and love but we cannot change history. We can shelter our children for now but one day they will learn what happened. In New York City. In Newtown. In Boston. And elsewhere too. Evil dwells among us and we can’t do a damn thing about it.
But these evil-doers, these monsters, were babies once too. These people who commit heinous acts of crime and show a complete disregard for human life started out as innocent children. What happened? Where did their parents go wrong? Or did their parents do everything right? My mind races with these thoughts.
How do we ensure that our own children don’t enter the dark world where Adam Lanza’s mind resided? And the more likely question is how do we keep our children safe from future acts of violence?
These are scary thoughts for today’s parents and what is more frightening is the realization that ultimately, the safety of our children and the people they become is out of our hands.
The fact that you can only do so much as a mom is unsettling. You can teach right from wrong. Sure. You can love with all your heart. Of course. You can be the best mom you can be, but there are still no guarantees. There is no certainty that your child will turn out ok. You can say everything will be just fine but you can never know that it will be. The future is unknown but chances are that life will not always be all candy and rainbows for our kids, just like it has not been all sweet for us.
At some point in their lives, our children will experience heartbreaking pain. Death will steal someone they love. They will see terror. We hope that they will only become familiar with the most unspeakable acts of torment by watching or reading the news. We hope. But there are no guarantees, except that our kids will learn these devastating life lessons.
I know that it is not possible for my children to view the world through rose-tinted glasses forever. They will learn evil and their trust in humanity will be shattered. I cannot prevent that. I wish I could keep them from discovering the hatred and human suffering that goes on in our world but I can’t. I can only hope that they will not be robbed of their free spirits prematurely as so many children have been.
Our job as moms is to prepare our children for the future because we can’t always shield them. With enough support and love during childhood, I know that our kids will find the strength to face whatever lies ahead, just as we have. Even in the darkest of hours, I have always known that there are still plenty of good people in the world and this is the most important lesson of all.
So when the day comes and your babies realize that not everyone is nice and trust needs to be earned, please tell them that for every bad person out there, there are thousands of good people and you can be certain about that.