Another punch in the collective gut this morning.
Another shooting. Another reminder of the very real and very disgusting realities of the world we live in today. I turned on the news this morning and watched as my four- and three-year-old took in what was being said. No questions from them yet, but as I saw their eyes take in the brief video clip (the short one I let them see), and I saw as they noticed the tone of the news anchors’ voices, surely with a knowledge that something was off. They’re not quite ready to know how screwed up our world is, and I’m in no rush to explain it to them. And here’s where I am as a parent: (The same point where you are too, I’m sure.) I am over fearing this world and its evil for *me*; I fear it for *them.* We are basting in a marinade of the hate that has been drowning our world for years now. We are raising our kids and sending them into this swirling muck with no life vest–nothing but a pat on the back and an abiding prayer for their safety. What really gets me is when people try to say that what our world is going through is somehow normal. A global “growing pain,” of sorts. “There’s always been violence,” people will say. Or, “Things are no different now; it’s just that we hear about it more.” Well you know what? I don’t buy that for one red second. FORGET that. Our world is worse off in many ways than in generations past. Our connections are up, yet somehow our humanity is down. We have come, sadly, to know this type of utter horror as just something that happens these days. And these are the words we send our kids out into the world with: “Bad things happen.” Or even more sickeningly, “Here’s what you do if [GOD FORBID] you’re ever near a shooting.” God, I’m stymied. I worked in television news for 13 years, and found myself at this precise mental stalemate each time we’d cover a story like this. Perplexed, angry, feeling completely powerless. Not only do I not want to have to send my kids into a world pulsing below the surface with dread and terror, but I also don’t want to have to try to process it myself anymore. It defies explanation. So I’ve stopped putting my faith in our generation to change this. Maybe, God willing, it’s our kids who will finally figure this out. So I don’t propose we *just* pray anymore. We need more than prayer. I propose we raise good kids. Good kids who can handle when others don’t agree with them. Good kids who learn to listen, and not yell. Good kids who are capable of managing their emotions. Good kids who don’t blame other people for their problems, but look inside to see how they can change, how they can help. Good kids who not only pray, but who aalso take action to make this world better. Good kids who turn into good adults. That’s who’s going to fix this.