In times of crisis, I wish I had a medical degree. I wish I had the freedom to pick up and go to where help is needed. To comfort people in despair. To organize volunteers. To lift away debris and bring the hurting to help.
To be human.
But I can't.
There are people here in this house who desperately need me to survive. They need me here, and so I can't be there.
When tragedy strikes, and I hate to admit that most of the time it is news on main stream media that I hear due to my lack of media watching and listening, I can't seem to tear myself away.
Today was no different.
We don't turn the TV on, because seeing the images of blood streaking the Boston streets would only serve to put fear and anger in my children. And so I listened to the radio in the kitchen while I cooked. Even when it felt like too much, I had a sense that if I turned the radio off, I would be turning my blind eye or deaf ear to the situation. It felt wrong to leave the tragedy, when so many others couldn't.
And yet, you have to. Not forget I mean, but take a breather. Let it sink in. Allow the gravity of the situation to have it's rightful place.
In these moments I often wonder what my role is.
Where is my responsibility in this?
I think about my children sleeping in their beds right now. I think about how impressionable they are. I wonder on what their futures hold. What battles they will have to fight as young men and women.
I really hate to admit that I have lived a long time in "retreat" mentality. Pull away, live off the grid, stop all the media from being in my house, go simple, don't invest, it's too much out there, so I'll just live small in our own little world.
But really, all that means is that I escape all responsibility and I hide from being apart of the solution. What my greatest sin with that way of living, is teaching my children to do the same. When I don't engage, they will never know how.
As parents it is critical that we understand the importance of what our job is. If you have small children living in your home, then you understand the absolute power you have in your words and actions in shaping the minds and hearts of the young people who look up to you. The way we engage, or ignore problems. The words we use to describe hate crimes and those who hurt. The way we talk about different cultures and religions. Our words will directly shape the way our children see the world and the people in it.
Humans history is filled with wars and killings based on greed, power, selfishness and sickness. It won't ever go away. So how do we deal with that?
The only power I have right now, today in my circumstance is to raise up children who will desire to be apart of the solution, not the problem. To be helpers. To be supporters. To be advocates.
To give my children a language to communicate their thoughts and feelings, so that talking through problems is the first solution. To teach the power of communication, understanding, forgiveness, and compromise.
To install in my children a longing for justice and a heart for the wounded and hurt.
To equip them with the tools necessary to find solutions to problems.
To in every way possible, give them an acceptance of all people, without judgement so that they can see the man behind the culture, the religion, the uniform.
To talk about the scary things that happen in a space where it allows your children to voice their questions and concerns and worries and wonderings.
To give them your thoughtful observations and passion against evil.
Today felt overwhelming. The obvious tragedy brings with it a sense of hopelessness. After the hopelessness came the urgency in the awareness of the responsibility of raising my children.
Raising them to not run from the fight, but equipping them to be prepared for it.
In my opinion, Jesus hasn't shown up yet, so I would rather we were a family who actively cared about the solution, instead of pretending that all the problems don't exist.
We have a responsibility as parents. Our children are what we are giving to the world, to the next generation. They will inherit all of our mistakes and all that is wrong and right with our world. I will say it again, my greatest mistake will be not preparing them for that.