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