Why Do Bad Things Happen? How To Explain the Unexplainable To Your Kids
I remember right after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, Hayden was 10 years old, he turned to me and asked me, 'Why?' Why did it happen? Why would someone do something like this that hurt so many people? And, why was eight year old, Martin William Richard, killed during the shooting? It was if, at that moment, he had realized his own mortality. That bad things can happen at any time, to anyone, at any age.
As I looked into his eyes, I realized I didn't know why? I was trying to process it all myself. My son was looking to me for answers I didn't have. I just shared with him what makes ME feel better about bad things. Whether the death of a loved one or friend, or the violence of a mass shooting that seems all too common these days, there is something I learned from my mother that eases my fear, anxiety and sadness. Maybe it will help you and your kids too.
My wonderful, insightful and spiritual mom taught me that we are all connected by a purpose. She explained to me that no one persons purpose is greater than another and that we are all woven together like a cloth. Our actions and reactions affecting those around us.
Many of us search our whole lives for our purpose. Why we are here, on this earth, at this time, on this day, in this place. Is there a larger meaning? If so, what is it? The thing is, we never really know what our purpose is. It could be as big, in scale, as discovering a medical cure for the human race, or as small and intimate as holding someones hand, filling them with love and making them smile.
In her mind everyday was a gift. Time given to love and to serve, to show kindness and respect to strangers, to help those in need, to seek out your purpose, to LIVE, live everyday like it could be your last. She believed that when we had served our purpose, our time on this earth would be over. That philosophy always filled me with peace. I felt as if those who were taken from us, unexpectedly or too soon, had achieved the ultimate goal. They had found their purpose and achieved an understanding of life and had discovered the answers we all are searching for. She wasn't afraid to die and found peace in knowing her purpose would be fulfilled.
In terms of the senseless violence, like the mass shootings over the weekend, where innocent lives were lost, my mom's view was that once we are able to move past the sadness, pain and loss, we can then start to heal with the hope that those who lost their lives may have had a greater purpose. She believed that good always comes from bad. One life given, may save another. She would have said they are heroes.
That's how I explained the possible reason for the death of the eight year old boy, during the Boston Marathon bombing. I told my son that maybe the little boys death prevented the death of others. Maybe, someone who saw is sweet face on the news, and his parents crying, decided NOT to take a gun to a school or detonate a bomb at a public event. Maybe, like a superhero, he saved the life of another. Maybe, through all of the shock and pain, good does does come out of bad.
I remember he looked at me and smiled. No more worry or fear. He had, on the TV screen seen the face of a hero. A hero he would never forget.
We are all heroes, weaving in out out of the lives of those around us.