On Friday, I helplessly watched at work while news coverage showed a microphone in a little boy’s face as he talked about how one of the first grade teachers died. I was surrounded by pissed off police officers and we all felt the same. We wanted revenge, answers, more fire power in our schools, and most of all, those of us with kids, to leave work and go gather our children up.
But I didn’t leave work early. I did, however, get to my son’s elementary before he got on the bus. He attends a K-3 elementary, just like Sandy Hook. He’s in first grade, just like Sandy Hook. As I walked up the sidewalk to the front door, I almost lost it. The sudden pain and agony I felt took me by surprise. I fought the tears and pulled it together for my son’s sake. But I saw it on the faces of the teachers. They knew. I knew they knew without even saying a word. At that moment, I wished I was in uniform. I wished I could stand guard at my son’s school every hour of the day, protecting all those children and all those teachers. But I can’t. Instead, I watched as my son obliviously packed his snow pants and boots into his backpack with no idea of the horror that had happened earlier that day.
I briefly talked to his shocked teachers, then headed home. Come Sunday night, my husband and I discussed what we should do. Do we tell our little six year old about the evil act that occurred? What do we say? In the end, we decided not to. And this is why…
He doesn’t need to know. We didn’t watch endless coverage all weekend. We didn’t stand in front of our TV transfixed on the painful images that the media flooded us with. Our son has no clue of the innocent lives that were lost, the poor children and staff who thought they were safe in their school but were not. Why scare him? There’s no easy way to explain this tragedy. And there’s no need. He is six. I will not accept that this is just the way our society is now and innocence is being lost at an earlier age. I will not agree with parents who let their young children watch violence of any form on TV. Yes, this is a national tragedy. But he is six. If he wants to hear about it when he’s older, that’s fine. If he hears something at school, then it’s our job as parents to explain in simplest terms. But until that happens, I’m not going to unnecessarily educate him about this evil act.
As I dropped him off at school on Monday morning, I told his teacher that he doesn’t even have a clue. She said they had no intention of telling the first graders and if anyone brings it up, they are going to stop any talk about it immediately. She agreed, they do not need to know. At that moment, I knew we made the right decision.