Where were you on September 11, 2001? I was standing with 3 year-old Markie in front of the TV, about to put in his Veggie Tales DVD and the news momentarily popped up and we stood transfixed as the second plane flew right into the tower.
"Mommy, why is the plane hitting the building?"
As parents, our instincts kicked in. We would not, could not, tell them the whole truth. We would not let our littles have our nightmares. So we said things like "Those were crazy men, honey, and they are dead now. Everything is okay." And they believed us. And we whispered with other parents on the playground and wondered what the future would be like for our children.
These sweet littles started to grow up and heard about the Virginia Tech shooting, and Sandy Hook and the Aurora Shooting and on and on. And we were able to still say "That is far away from us. That will never happen here." Didn't we all say things like that? And we cried and mourned for the grieving parents, families and friends who had their dreams shattered. And we stopped turning on the news when our kids were awake.
I remember when the schools honored the 10th anniversary of September 11th. My little Markie, was now a lanky 13 years old. Mark came home from the school's assembly a little perplexed that he hadn't ever gotten the whole story. "What really happened, Mom?" And I had to tell him, and that day his world became less safe.
After the Aurora shooting, Mark started working out. Obsessively building muscle, which, for those of you who knew him, had never been important to him. When I asked him why, he said, "When I start dating it will be up to me to protect my date, Mom." Gosh, I loved that kid.
Here is the deal, sweet friends. We CAN NOT protect our children from evil. Trust me, I know. I have sheltered and warned them. I have controlled which friends they could hang with and which activities they could attend. I have journals filled with prayers for my kids' safety. And still, evil has visited our family in a most horrible way. So if we can not protect our children from evil, what do we do?
We teach them to fight. And we teach them to what to fight for.
How do we face a future that is exceedingly dangerous and unpredictable? Pray your kids will be BRAVE. I prayed this for Mark when he was a cautious little guy, and he became a warrior at heart. It is really hard watching your courageous child step into the real world. They start to care about things like human trafficking, and befriend the homeless, and pick up a hitchhiker, and stand up to a bully. They may do things that are RIGHT and incredibly UNSAFE. And you will be so proud and so afraid. And you keep praying you will be brave enough to keep up with them.
And they will become this generation's heroes.
"The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion."