The past 4 days have been numbing for so many. None more than those who lost children on Friday. We all stand confused and unsure and angry trying to make sense from the senseless.
As soon as I saw the news Friday, I began thinking about how we would handle talking about it with our daughters. I assumed Kate would hear about it at school and figured the questions would come as soon as she was in the car, but they didn't come. She hadn't heard and I was thankful. I was thankful that I would be able to be the one to share with her what had happened in Connecticut that same morning.
I've had friends and acquaintances who have talked to their children about it and those who are choosing not to and those who can't decide.
I thought I might share with you why I did.
Friday after Abby came home from PreK and I turned the news on, my heart and mind were just in a weird stage of shock. At first disbelief maybe, but then tears began to flood my eyes. I felt utter urgency to begin praying. I went to where Abby was and sat down with her, fighting through tears to tell her what happened in a way a 4 year old could understand. I told her that a man who wasn't very nice went and hurt many little girls and boys and their teacher and they needed us to pray for them. We held hands and prayed together. Abby asked why I was crying and I told her my heart was hurting for the mommies and daddies and that we needed to remember them when we talked to Jesus. Why put this burden of prayer on a 4 year old? One of the most important things we are trying to teach our daughters is compassion. She's 4 and so she'll only understand so much of what's going on, but I felt in that moment that it was important to teach her that when we see the need for prayer around us, we need to respond. After we prayed, she went on about her happy little self and probably didn't think anything else of it.
Later that day when my oldest came home from school, I was expecting her to jump in the car with a pocket full of questions, worry and concern. She is almost 8 and is very tenderhearted and I knew if she'd heard, she'd want to talk about it, but she hadn't and she didn't.
Once we were home, I sat her down to talk to her. No, I didn't want to implant that worry and concern into her heart when it wasn't there already, but I knew she'd find out at church on Sunday or school on Monday and I wanted to be the one to answer her questions.
I explained what had happened and in a little more detail with her than Abby. We didn't talk about gory details, just the basics and I let her ask questions and I answered as best I could. After I felt she understood as best she could for the circumstances, I explained to her that I felt there were 2 reasons I felt she should know. The first and foremost so she would be a prayer warrior for the families and friends. That as a family, we could bring them before God asking Him to bring them comfort only He could bring.
Secondly though, I wanted her to be prepared. Yes, you could say this is erring on the side of paranoia, but I felt this was an opportunity to give Kate some guidance as to what to do if this were ever something she and her friends were faced with. I pray they never do. I pray it's never something she even has to consider, but just as we teacher them about stranger danger and stop, drop and roll, I felt the need to teach her what to do in this scenario if she has the ability to react. We talked about hiding and we talked about lying down. We talked about being very quiet and listening to what our teacher is telling us. We talked about calming our friends down and praying. It is so sad to me that it even has to become a topic in our home, but it has and so we take the moment to learn and to teach.
I realize that this won't be the right thing for every family, but I feel it's right for ours.
Each morning when I send my sweet little ones to school, I always pray for God's safety and angels around them, that they are a blessing and be blessed. I've prayed it everyday since the very first day they went to school and I will never stop. My job as my daughter's mother is to protect their minds, their bodies, their souls and their hearts and I will always do what I can to do this.
This is why I chose to talk to them about it.