The first thing my eight-year-old asked me after we told her about the bombing was, “did they catch the bad guys?”
And my response, of course, was, “no, not yet. But they will!”
To which she replied, “I know they will, Abba. I know they will.”
“I know they will.” I wish I could believe like she does. The most I can honestly say is, “I hope they will,” but not to her. Regardless of what we adults believe, we need to instill within our children certainty, not merely belief that, justice will prevail. It is our duty to reassure them that “the good guys” will catch “the bad guys.” And so, of course, I told her, “I know they will.”
Again, per my last blog, more often than not, life is not easily divided into good versus evil or “good guys” versus “bad guys.” At times like these however, morality is stark, truth is clear and life is, indeed, black and white. “Bad guys” aren’t just the stuff of movies. Bad guys are real, bad guys exist. No matter how much we try to shelter our children from this fact, our children see it, they know it and they are scared by it – monsters and “bad guys,” this is the stuff of childhood nightmares.
My teacher, Dennis Prager, says this is why it is so important to let our children watch movies with violence, as long as it is the right type of violence – “good violence.” What is the right type of violence? What is “good violence?” Not gratuitous violence. Not indiscriminate violence. Not bloody, gory, sensationalized violence. Rather, our kids need to see “Lone Ranger” type violence, “Batman” type violence, superhero type violence. They need to see good guys armed, ready to defend, willing to use force, and even use that force if necessary, to protect the innocent, to protect civilians, to protect children – that’s what the good guys do. They need to see the good guys saving people and living to fight another day. Our children need to be indoctrinated with the belief that the good guys are real and that the good guys always win.
But more than movies, our children need to see “the good guys” in action during atrocities like this past Monday. They are going to see the horrific images on the news no matter how hard we try to prevent it. They need to also see the images of first responders risking their lives rushing into the mayhem. They need to see law enforcement officers taking charge of the scene, and when that time comes, they need to see the bad guys arrested and justice served.
Our children need to see the images of ordinary citizens, regular men and women rising up and becoming heroes as they take care of one another, complete strangers carrying each other out of harms way.
Our children need to see these extraordinary images, read about the unbelievable heroism and witness the goodness, not just the evil that took place this past week.
It is our duty as parents to inundate our children with the absolute certainty that heroes are real, heroes always prevail, good always triumphs over evil and eventually the good guys always win.
Our children need to be able to say and believe this with every ounce of their being – “I know they will.”
I know they will.
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