Like many people this week, words just don't come for me right now. My heart aches for the families and friends of those beautiful children who were lost and the teachers and administrators who died trying to protect them. My heart also aches for a mother who lost her battle to save her son, losing her own life in the process, and for a young man who was troubled beyond anyone's imaginings.
How do we possibly explain this to children when we can't understand it ourselves? How do we assure them that they will be safe when we know that, regardless of how well we plan for emergencies, we simply can't anticipate every possibility?
I don't have the answers, but I think Mr. Rogers has the best response I have heard yet. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world.”
While we can't lie to children and tell them that bad things don't happen, we can show them very clearly how many helpers there are who are willing to do anything, including laying down their own lives, to help them. I think that's the best we can do right now.