My son is a voracious reader. He reads everything in sight. But there are so many things that I wish that he knew absolutely nothing about. I wish that I could shield him from all of the horrors that make absolutely no sense in this crazy world. Why do people kill? Why do people commit atrocious crimes? It’s mind-boggling and it terrifies me that a young boy’s childhood innocence is threatened by his ability to read. I wish that my son couldn’t read.
I can’t hide all of the papers and magazines in our house and it never used to be an issue. But then I proceed to get questions like, “what’s happening in Syria? Can you tell me more about chemical weapons?” It’s terrifying… all of it. I don’t have all of the answers, mostly because there are so many things that confuse me.
My son is a logical boy, and math has always been a dear friend. If this, then that… It’s a way to organize his world. So when he approached me asking about war, he said “so they kill, so we kill to tell them that killing is bad?” The truth hurts. But I took it as an opportunity to talk with him about all of the topics that were on his mind.
He brought out a Time magazine that I thought that I had tossed weeks back. He asked me about headlines that always seem to make their way into the news. And I said to him: “I wish that you couldn’t read any of this.” But kids are much more resilient than we assume, and gather strength I only wish that I could consume. “Mom,” he replied “it’s a fact of life. Not reading it doesn’t make it go away.”
But, oh man, do I wish that it did.