I Believe In Love

7 comments

I thought I had escaped explaining. She wasn’t even born yet when it happened. But I forgot that something like that never goes away. My daughter finally asked me a question I had been dreading: “Mommy, what happened on Sept 11, 2001?”

How do you begin to answer that? Especially to a child who, once she gets something in her mind, she picks and picks and picks at it from every angle. How much information is too much? How much is enough to satisfy her curiosity but not scare the bejesus out of her? Because I’ll be honest, it still scares the bejesus out of me.

I sat her down and explained as much as I could about that day. She told me that her teacher talked about it at school. In a way, I’m glad it was the teacher and not the other kids. She had a lot of “why” questions that I just couldn’t answer, like why did the bad guys want to crash the planes and kill people? (If you can think of a good enough explanation for that, let me know.) I told her how sad and scary it was and that it was ok if she felt scared too.   I told her that it was something that probably wouldn’t happen again. Was I lying to her? I don’t know. Through it all, I just wanted her to feel safe.

As we talked, I couldn’t help but feel like I had chipped away at her innocence just a bit. This was our first intrusion by the horrors of the real world. I’m not so naïve as to think that she’ll never experience tragedy or learn about our imperfect world. I just didn’t want it to happen when she was 6 years old. It made me feel helpless because I couldn’t shelter her. Now that conversation is behind us, I feel like I need to fill the space with more talk about love. Think about it. How often do you sit your child down, look them in the eyes and talk to them about kindness and love? Not just, “I love you” but what it means to be nice and thoughtful and grateful for each other.

This.  Right here.  More love. Photo: K. Stevenson Do not use w/o permission.
This. Right here. More love.
Photo: K. Stevenson Do not use w/o permission.

A couple of our writers have written recently about living in the now and appreciating the moments you have in front of you. I think that is the remedy for what ails us in this mixed-up, crazy world. I believe in the power of intention. I believe in living each day with the appreciation for the gifts in front of you. I believe in grabbing on to those that you love and holding on to them just a little longer than normal—and actually making that the norm. I believe in making sure that our daughter knows she is loved.  I believe in making room in our lives for laughter and love above all the other distractions. These beliefs of mine, they shouldn’t be a secret.

The world needs less talk about action and more action. I think Kid President said it best when he said “You’re made from love, to be loved, to spread love. Love is always louder, no matter what. Even if hate has a bull horn. Love is loud, so let your life be loud.” I think that’s a very good idea.

Photo: ink361.com
Photo: ink361.com

7 comments on “I Believe In Love”

  1. Nicely written, Kriste, as usual ❤ I wish I had a classroom full of parents like you. So many of my kids suffer from lack of love, lack of attention and parents who put themselves first whether it be because they are struggling to survive life themselves, they weren't raised right, are addicts of some sort, they don't know how to parent in a loving way, or because they just don't care. period.
    When I read your essays I am so proud of you and wish so much that all parents put as much time, energy and love into their roles as parents.
    Just for the record, I did not mention 9/11 to my second graders on that day. They are so young. I always wait to see if one of my students mentions it (this may have happened in Zoey's class). If that happens we have the exact kind of talk you did with Zoey. Very general and nonspecific so as not to terrify anyone. They do worry a LOT at this age.
    As with other bad situations that occur, I tell them very matter of factly that yes, there are bad people in the world (they know this) but in general, the world is a very safe place and we can make the world a better place by being good, kind people ourselves. On a less life altering level, this comes up when we talk about litterbugs too (a huge pet peeve of mine!)~~! I ask them to promise me they will never litter! 🙂 When they are seven, they can't believe anyone would want to make the world ugly with litter. Too bad that attitude changes for some of them as they grow older (especially with poor modeling). All I can do is try to instill good values in them while I have them in my life for 180 days.
    Thanks for spreading the love!

    1. Thanks Aunt Nancy! We come from good stock! Thank you for everything you do for your “kids.” I wish you could be Zoey’s teacher too. And littering drives me nuts too. I just don’t get it.

  2. I agree with you, Kriste. Love is always louder and always shines brighter. And I learned years and years ago that faith and fear cannot live in the same house.

    I never even think about having to explain tragedies to my daughter. Until reading this I didn’t really think about it. Is that ridiculous?

    1. Not ridiculous at all because I was totally thinking the same way. When Newtown happened, I remember being relieved that she was too young for us to talk about it. Now, I’m preparing for when she brings those questions home. You never know with these little sponges.

  3. “Love is always louder” – SO TRUE. Such a wonderful, important message. This is a beautiful post, thank you.

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