I don’t have all the answers, although to my children, it may seem like I do.
Children are naturally curious. It’s not uncommon for our family to sit around the table for dinner while Kim and I are peppered with so many questions that keeping up is difficult.
Luca often asks me, “What’s your worst favorite color?”
What does that even mean?
Lincoln often asks questions I don’t have the answer to or have no idea how to answer. I’m still not sure how to answer this question he asked three years ago: “What’s under the ocean?”
I could Google for the answer, but that might spoil the reminder of my son asking one of his many off-the-wall questions because those questions reflect his personality. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lincoln has already Googled the answer and wrote a report on it. That’s just how he is.
Sometimes the questions feel overwhelming and I try to run from them or ignore them. But there are many questions from which I cannot nor should I run from.
The morning after the shooting at the Aurora mall last week I sat in front of the TV trying to comprehend the horrific scenes I was watching. Police and sirens and chaos filled the screen when my daughter pulled up a blanket and sat next to me.
Looking back now I never considered changing the channel over to Nickelodeon. No, I put my arm around my daughter and stared straight ahead. Between the reporters blathering on about the gunman and the text which scrolled along the bottom of the screen, it didn’t take long for her to figure out that something awful had taken place.
My earliest recollection of publicized violence was the night John Lennon was killed because it was announced on Monday Night Football by Howard Cosell as I watched. I was old enough to understand he was a member of the most famous band on the planet, but didn’t fully comprehend his importance to his fans or his eventual place in music and pop culture.
A few minutes passed before my daughter asked, “Why would someone shoot other people?”
I don’t know why a man would dress up like the Joker, head to the theater and gun down 12 people and send dozens more to the hospital. Like most people, my mind can’t comprehend that level of evil or insanity. The mind tries to make sense of it but can’t.
The best I could muster for my daughter? “Some people are very very sick.”
I wish I had a better answer for myself and my daughter.
But I’ve learned that answers that encourage more questions are often as good as right answers when it comes to children.