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What I Choose to Tell My Child About The Recent Tragedy And Why

I’m going to be honest and say that I hate that I am writing this because that means something awful has happened, yet again. We are grieving as a Nation and trying to make sense of such a senseless act. My heart just hurts and I can’t get the thoughts of what occurred in Las Vegas out of my head. I am sad that so many of us no longer feel safe. So many of us are saying ” I can’t believe this is the world our children are growing up in” and as I reflect on my own childhood I can honestly say I don’t recall there ever being so many national tragedies as we see today. I would like to keep my children sheltered from knowing of this hate and these horrendous acts but as Xander has grown up I have realized that is not always possible.

I woke up Monday morning and I picked up my phone to check the weather to get Xander’s outfit ready for school and that is when I saw the news about the attack in Vegas. I was completely shocked. I heard this concert promoted on the Sirius XM radio station The Highway all week and I thought “this isn’t real”. I went downstairs to turn on the news and saw the horror. My heart sunk. I had no words or thoughts I was just shocked and devastated as I watched the news unfold.  I woke Xander up and went to get Elise up as well. When I came downstairs with Elise I saw Xander had already made his way downstairs and was standing in front of the TV and he read out loud ” 50 dead and 200 injured in…”I cut him off and said “Xander go sit at the table.” Sh*t! He saw the news, I should’ve turned it off… but I couldn’t take back what he saw and read so I just told him something bad had happened but don’t worry everything will be ok and we went about our morning  routine and I put him on the bus for school. As I watched the news and learned more about the horror that happened I thought about Xander and what he might be thinking about this. Is he scared? Does he not feel safe? I knew when he came home that I had to talk to him.

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 02: A cowboy hat lays in the street after shots were fired near a country music festival on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

I spent most of that morning running errands but I was also on social media and watching the news for all the updates and stories on the attack. From what I saw on the news and what I read that day I knew what I wanted to tell Xander so when the time was right I sat him down and told him this:

” I know you saw the news this morning about the bad guy who did something very bad and he hurt a lot of people. He is dead so he can’t hurt anyone else and I want you to feel safe. He is one person who hurt a lot of people but I want you to know that there were hundreds of people who saved hundreds of lives that night. So many people are alive right now because there were so many heroes who saved them. There are a few bad guys in the world but there are SO many more good people out there than bad and I want you to know that, ok?”

He nodded his head in understanding and we talked about the normal people turned heroes as well as all the first responders, police officers, doctors, and nurses who all saved lives that day. When something awful of this magnitude occurs I want my children to hear it explained by their father and I. We often underestimate what our children pick up on. It is easy to say “well don’t have the news on” or ” don’t talk about it” but that doesn’t necessarily mean they wont hear it somewhere else. I hated that he had to see the news Monday morning but I turned this into a teachable moment for my son. In the past few days of the news coverage we have all seen the good, the bad, and the ugly come out in people. I am seeing people quickly turn this into a political battle with friends on social media. I sit here thinking to myself  “how is it that an act of hate is having others spew their own hate upon others who don’t share their same views ?! This should be a time when we should be coming together NO MATTER WHAT!” HATE does not get solved with HATE people! Good will always triumph over evil and that is what I will ALWAYS tell my children and that is why I feel it is so important for us as parents to be the ones to explain these situations to our children rather than them hearing it from somewhere else.

As I was watching the Today show Tuesday morning I was brought to tears of over this story of a man who was trying to help his wife over the fence when he got shot. He said a man came to help him as he was bleeding out from his leg. This man made a tourniquet with good intentions but it wasn’t working. That is when this other man named James saw the man with the tourniquet placed above the knee and he knew it was in the wrong spot. Instead of continuing  to run to safety this man stopped and fixed the tourniquet and saved this mans life. They reunited the two men on the show that morning and it was right there and then that you saw the reality of humanity. Here was a guy whose life was saved by this man who knew because of his Army training that that man was going to die if he didn’t stop and fix the tourniquet and in the midst of all this chaos he recognized that and sprung to action. This hero then thanked the man who he called a hero the one who was driving the truck he saw the man in who brought so many people to the hospital and saved so many lives. There are going to be hundreds of these stories and they all wont make the news but they are out there and this is how good triumphs over evil and this is the world I want my children to know.

We can’t prevent bad things from happening we can only do our best as parents to raise our children to be good people and to always find the good in people because it is absolutely out there. I leave you with this quote by the beloved Mr. Rodgers that is ever so true and with my thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families of this tragedy.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”- Fred Rogers


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  • Reply
    Vanessa | RunninginTriangles.com
    October 9, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Great message! I always try to talk to my kids about things in the media as well and never try to avoid it because I’d much rather they hear it from me and discuss it with me than hear it from somewhere else and be confused. I also think there are so many benefits to focusing on the good that comes out of these tragedies, not just for the kids but for ourselves – it’s one way to stay positive and optimistic!

  • Reply
    Ashley Moore
    October 9, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    I think you went about telling your children the completely right way! There were so many heros that night and not just our police and paramedics. I think it’s so important to start teaching children as soon as we can to be helpers and look for the good even though something so terrible has happened. Living in Vegas myself it’s been very humbling to see how our community has come together and how people have helped one another. Luckily for me my children are 3 and 2 so it wasn’t something I had to explain, but I pray there is never a time that I have to. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Reply
    October 9, 2017 at 11:13 pm

    I absolutely love this story. Tragedies are horrible and they show the depravity of man and the evil in the world. However, they also restore my hope in mankind. They bring people together. They show acts of heroism. Do I wish bad things never happened? Yes, I really truly do. But, one thing I’ve learned about life is you have to take the bad with the good. I love that you were able to share this with your son and love the way you wrote this post ❤️ Prayers for Vegas.

  • Reply
    October 10, 2017 at 2:56 am

    I love this. Our babies are only 3 and 1 so we’re not really telling them anything because they won’t understand but this is an awesome post!

  • Reply
    Sarah Althouse
    October 10, 2017 at 7:20 am

    I can’t imagine kids and having to tell them about a horrible crisis like that. Sounds like you had a lot of wisdom to share though about always finding the good in people!

  • Reply
    Niharika Verma
    October 10, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    I am from India and was shocked to hear that. It gave me like a freeze-feeling when I got to know about that! Shocking! What to say… insane minds. How can people do like this?

  • Reply
    October 10, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    It’s so important to then tell our children a little bit instead of pushing it under the rug. It’s so hard though, because I would like my girls to stay innocent to all of this for as long as possible!

  • Reply
    Valerie Makin
    October 11, 2017 at 11:41 am

    It’s so hard raising children in these days of tragedy, but I completely agree with how you handled it. Our kids look to us for answers, and we have to steer them in the direction of light and hope instead of darkness and hate. Great message!

  • Reply
    October 11, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    I live in Vegas and a kid from our church (he was 20) was shot and killed in the shooting. His family is huge from this area and are old family friends.
    We found out about the shooting on Sunday night while it was happening- we watched the videos roll in completely stunned. We had actually been a little ways away from where the shooting happened only an hour before for a hockey game.
    I told my three year old about the shooting because it’s important. There are people who were affected and I don’t want to hide my kids away from the evil of the world- they need to know. And it also made it easier for us to talk about prayer and love for those who were affected.

  • Reply
    Amanda Elize
    October 14, 2017 at 9:18 am

    This is so hard. It is becoming more and more of a reality for me that I will soon have to explain these things to my babe as she grows older and understands more. It makes me sad that her innocence is lessening with each year that goes by. But I love your reminder to focus on the helpers and good people in such an awful situation.

  • Reply
    Valerie Clement
    October 14, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    So sad! Thanks for sharing. My kids aren’t old enough yet but I know some day I will have these conversations which is sad to think we have to plan for it.

  • Reply
    Laura | The Yellow Birdhouse
    October 16, 2017 at 8:22 am

    I love that Mr. Rogers quote, it speaks so much hope in these scary times.

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