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Monday, July 18, 2016

Child's Play in a Time of Violence

Yesterday, my oldest child showed my little one a video explaining that some butterflies can be carnivorous. The video showed a butterfly drinking blood from somebody's bloody sock.

My little one needed to talk to me about it. Not for the reasons you expect, but because of Mr. Phil and Dae Dae Reynolds, the child in the car when he was killed. 

 "And just looking at that bloody sock," says my child, "It made me hurt, it made my little toe hurt. And I that was only a butterfly I saw on the computer. But that little girl saw Mr. Phil get shot and die. Right in front of her. Which you won't even let me watch on the computer. And he might have wound up being her new daddy. And she's littler than even me."

I swallow.

"And then, somebody goes and shoots other people," Little One continues. "Shooting other people won't make it better for her. Or for anybody. Then other people shoot other people. And, and it doesn't help anybody. Everybody would wind up shot."

What can I say? "Yes. It's wrong. And bad. And we will do our best to change it." And then a warm hug. But this is not enough, not for children. Not for grownups. 

This morning, my little one plays with stuffed animals. The soft sounds of pretend conversation form a backdrop to my trying to heal the world, working from my computer.

Behind me, I hear a stern, small voice: "You shouldn't go and shoot people. You can't do that. It is wrong."

"I had to," says a different voice.

"No,' says the first voice, clearly the wisest one. "You betrayed them. You must talk. You must meet together and talk and talk. That is the way it is done."

Out of the mouths of babes. 

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