Safe: How I'll Talk to My Kids About Newtown

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During one of the first weeks of Kindergarten my daughter came home and told me they practiced hiding.

Huh?

"You know. In case a stranger comes to school, so we be safe," she told me. "Mrs. J locks the door and turns off the lights and we all go to our hiding places." It was all very matter of fact. I asked JP if his class practiced hiding, too. "Oh yeah. It's like a fire drill or tornado drill, you know, just in case."

"So we be safe."

If there is one place on the planet that I thought my child would be safe from random acts of violence it was her Kindergarten classroom.

"So we be safe."

I couldn't fathom the kids ever needing to use that knowledge. Middle school? High school? Sure, maybe. But elementary school? We don't need to scare them. It's too much. Right?

"So we be safe."

The news that a gunman killed 26 people, mostly in a Kindergarten classroom, some (and, if reports are correct, most) are children. I can't fathom. I don't understand. They are just babies. I can't reconcile how anyone could look at a five-year-old and pull a trigger.

Last week we had to talk to the kids about what to do if anyone tried to take them. Why? The grandson of one of our school's teachers was nearly abducted at gunpoint.

Tonight we'll talk to them about what they should do if a stranger comes into their classroom. It feels so wrong.

"So we be safe."

What I want to do, right this very second, is go to school and put my arms around my babies and know, unequivocally, that they are safe. My heart breaks for the families, the lives lost, and the parents who had part of their heart and souls torn from them. Thinking about what they are going through makes it hard to breathe.

"So we be safe."

Our kids deserve at least that, right?

Watch for Children
Image: Amber Kennedy via Flickr

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