Everyone will be writing about yesterdays tragedy in Boston, and why not? The fresh, raw pain is on our minds as we go about our daily tasks. In our hearts we pray for those families as we deal with the minutia of our jobs, our kids…the life we live. Just can’t write a funny story today.
Of course I was working on my computer when the news broke, my first connection to the disaster through Twitter. Made me think, that although social media can divide us, de-personalize our connections, there are so many ways it connects us. I made new friends yesterday because of that shared sadness. A mom, in British Columbia, Canada, sitting home alone crying, watching the news, updating each string of information. Struggling but in touch with countless other moms all over our continent, asking…why? What is this world going to offer our children?
If there is anything that dragging six children across the globe, or hell…through a grocery store right before dinner, has taught me, It’s that, there are good…no GREAT people everywhere who will help you. Trying to catch a connection in a train station in Rome, we raced along…dad in front…our motley blonde crew, in descending height order behind him, rolling back packs in tow. Me, acting as a caboose.
Approaching a large staircase, the kids, as though performing choreography, stop, push the handle down on their suitcase, pull out the straps, and hoist their bags onto their backs. Seriously, the coolest thing to watch. An insignificant action in itself, but representative of their independence. They. Were. In. Charge. Then, I saw Cay struggling. Her dad was already at the top of the staircase, I wasn’t close enough to help. All I could do was watch, in that creepy-slow-motion-terror kind of way.
A stranger reached down and took her bag out of her hand.
The image of him running away with her or even just the suitcase, already going through my head, I looked up and saw her thanking him at the top. His only reward, her dazzling smile. He was a helper. Listen to Mr. Rogers, the quote from his Mom is the truth, there will always be helpers. I want my kids not only to know that those people exist, I’m doing everything I can to teach them that they ARE the helpers.
We were in Times Square in NYC during a bomb scare. A California restaurant we enjoyed dinner at one night, burnt to the ground the next. We rode in the same Paris underground, where weeks before people had been gassed. Drove through rural areas in Cambodia still possibly littered with land mines. I will never tell them not to go somewhere or not to do something because of what horrible thing may happen, as painfully as I want to protect them.
Their world will be what they make of it. Evil isn’t going anywhere, bad guys are always going to be around the next corner and I’m starting to believe the damn boogeyman is real. It doesn’t really matter. Show them how to be fiercely kind, how to be aggressively hopeful and that although terrifying things will always be there, they can be that person who shares their light in our dark world.
Children…be fearless helpers, the world always needs more of those.
“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.’ “