The first time I realized that I would have to teach my son (children) about the horrific evils of the world was December 14, 2012. My son had turned 5 months old just the day before a gun man shot and killed 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I watched everything unfold on the break room television while I was at work. I silently cried at my desk and discussed it with my coworkers. I thought of my sweet boy, just a couple of miles down the road. I held him that night and cried for all the lives and innocence that had been shattered that day. 

How do I explain to my children that evil and violence like this exist in our world? I’ve posed this question to friends and family before and received an array of answers and each bits of wisdom are good but none of them truly comfort me. None of them take away from the sad reality that little by little my children will learn what people are capable of. Not only what they are capable of but that they too will be subject to whatever the world may throw at them. 

They will learn of so many unspeakable tragedies (The Holocaust, slavery, 9/11, abortion, etc.). I can’t even begin to understand how I will “soften” these stories for their innocent ears and hearts. 

At Henry’s 3 year well check, before checking Henry’s boyhood, our doctor told Henry that he was only allowed to check Henry down there because his mama was in the room with him. While I appreciate the gesture, I was also saddened that we live in a world where we have to prepare our children for this life long battle against evil. Since this checkup we have been explaining to Henry that only mama and daddy (when changing/cleaning him) can touch Henry and that he himself is the only person that has a right to his body. This isn’t an easy discussion. How do you tell a 3 year old that someone may try to hurt him in an unfathomable way? We shouldn’t have to do this. 

How do people start out as innocent children and grow into detestable adults? That’s a rhetorical question. “The devil is alive, I can feel him breathing.”

Yes, I know, I hear it every time I start this conversation. There is SO much good in the world. We fight all the evil with all the good. 

The fight against evil and the teaching of good character starts at home by teaching our children the difference between light and dark. And for our family, explaining that Jesus provided a path full of light and to run away from the darkness that wants so badly to pull them  (quite literally)  into hell, is also how we will choose to fight this battle. 

That they, as individuals can change the world (they already have) even in simple every day acts. They get to choose light or dark and I will take every opportunity I can to show them kindness and love goes so far, even when no one else can see their choices. 

These two little people that I share my day with, I pray they understand that, even though there are evils in the world that will break their hearts, they can answer with love, with kindness, with a light so bright that nothing can turn it off. And I pray I find the words, when the time comes (which is quickly approaching for our 3 year old) to explain this big world to them. Until then, I will shepherd them toward goodness, toward the redeeming love of Jesus and hold them tight every day. 

Joshua and I had the following verse read at our wedding  and (even for non-Christians) I think it’s one to live by, it carries so much hope. 

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)