Opinion | Church

Not How, But Why to Talk to Your Kids about Newtown

Why we discuss evil and brokenness with our children.

We told our 6-year-old son about the shooting at Sandy Hook the Monday morning after it happened. In a conversation that had me reapplying my mascara, my husband gave him the bare facts: A guy went into an elementary school in Connecticut—far from here—and hurt a lot of kids and some teachers. It's a very sad, sad thing. But you are safe at your school.

"What happened to the guy who did it?" our son asked quietly.

"He died."

"How did he die? I mean, how do you know he's dead?" He looked hard at my husband, daring him to fib.

And so in a twist I didn't anticipate, my son heard about suicide for the first time. Still, after a moment, he hugged us both tightly, then ran off to talk to his brothers about the Polar Express party they were having at school.

It was a short, straightforward, and impossibly hard conversation to have with a 6-year-old. It didn't help that as I watched him react, I knew the parts we didn't share: Those children were the exact same age as him, and they did ...

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