5 Facts I’ll Tell My Kids About This Week’s Violence

I was thankful that my infant daughter began to scream at 11:15 p.m. last night.  I’d had enough of CNN.

I was exhausted by the videos of the tragedies in Baton Rouge, in Minnesota and, now, in Dallas.

My emotions were running high, but my energy was zapped.  How ironic that a crying infant was just the remedy I required.

As I tossed the remote on the sofa and headed toward her crib, I began to think about sorting out this terrible news for my children today.  We watch the news headlines together so my older kids will be curious.

Whether I’m lost with sorrow or hot with anger, having those emotions fuel my explanation of the tragedies to a 10, 8 and 7 year-old does nothing except confuses them.

If I go on a ten-minute rant about the world’s injustices spawned by these senseless acts, I leave my children in an even worse place than where we started from – now scared in addition to being confused.

My Good-Bad Dad reaction is to be factual – at least my version of fact.

Today, I’ll let my kids know:

  1.  Several people lost their lives that should not have – leaving behind families that are now deeply hurt and forever changed.
  2.  Guns, in the wrong hands, are a real problem in this country.
  3.  Racism exists – and, in some form, will always regrettably be.
  4.  No one is completely safe but we are as safe as we can possibly be – no parent would ever put their kids in danger intentionally.
  5.  Although no one person can stop these acts, each of us can make sure that we’re not contributing to hate or prejudice.

Nothing in the above is political.

Nothing in the list will take away the emotions that have the best of me today.

Everything in the above list tells my kids, not only how to make sense of this nonsense, but how they fit in.

I thought of this list last night as I tried to get my daughter settled.  As I carefully set her down into the crib, I focused on filling my mind with hope – choosing to focus on the distant, Utopian belief that I will never have to share such a list with her.

Solutions must be discovered and leaders must emerge – both start with me.  Each is my job everyday.

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