I am lucky this week, that Baby is too young to watch the news. I am lucky that she is so young that, even if she could watch, she would not understand enough of what she heard to ask about what she did not understand.
But she will not be this young forever. And I realize now that I need to prepare for what I will need to teach her.
I have to prepare to explain to her why our nation is celebrating the death of a man. I have to teach her that it is ok to feel whatever range of emotions that are born in her heart. But that life is to be celebrated and death is not. And if a life that has passed is not one to be celebrated, as is sadly true of some, we should recognize that and then turn our focus to the lives that can be celebrated.
I will tell her that it is wrong for one person to hurt another. But that some people don’t believe that to be true in their hearts. Those people will hurt many and refuse to stop. And when that happens, those who know that hurting is wrong have to step in and do whatever it takes to make the hurting stop. I will try to instill in her the values to understand and make those kinds of judgement calls required in shades of grey, even while I fear that I don’t always understand them myself.
I will teach her that some moments in life will be profound beyond her comprehension. I will caution her that those moments will be both joyful and painful. The joyful moments will create a warmth in her heart that no bad day or rough patch can take away. But the painful moments will create wounds that never quite heal. And I will warn her that when an entire nation of people experiences one of those profoundly painful moments at the exact same time, the results are amazing and terrifying. But those shared moments are the ones that unify us. So I will tell her to embrace those moments without fear. Because sharing a feeling with an entire nation of people connects you to the world around you. And connecting with other people is one of the best parts of life.
I will prepare to teach her these things as I try to remember them myself. Because sometimes I don’t understand what I see happening in the world, either.