Yesterday, there was no way to avoid talking about Osama Bin Laden’s death with my eight year old. It was all over the TV, the radio, and I knew kids at school would be talking about it. While getting ready for school, Ryder saw a baseball game highlight on TV featuring the crowd shouting “USA! USA!” He wanted to know why they were doing that. Dang, I thought. I had not prepared for this conversation. But I jumped in, fumbling my way through and tiptoeing past the scariest details.
Me: “Uhhh….welll….you might hear about this at school. There was a guy named Osama Bin Laden who was one of the meanest people in the world and now he’s dead. And a lot of people are really glad he’s gone.”
Him, jaw dropped: “Wait! Is he the one who shot Abraham Lincoln!?”
Me, after giggling: “No, that was another guy a long time ago. Remember how we told you those towers in New York came crashing down after the planes hit them? That was Osama Bin Laden’s idea.”
Him, perplexed: “He drove the planes into the building!?”
Me: “Well, he had other people do it for him.”
Him, shocked: “You mean he let his helpers die in the planes? He didn’t even care about his helpers?”
Me: “Right. That’s how mean he was.”
Him: “Who killed him?”
Me: “Well, some people who work for the United States found him. And even though hurting or killing people isn’t usually a good way to solve problems, they felt like this was the only way to keep him from doing more bad things.”
My deep thinker let that soak in as I wiped my brow. About 20 minutes later, he was very quiet while we drove to school. As I pulled up to the curb, he cleared his throat and said, “Mom, what about that mean guy’s parents? Were they mean to him?”
Me: “I don’t know, buddy, why?”
Him: “Well, I just want to know what happened to his heart…what happened to make him feel so terrible inside that he’d do so many mean things.”
I blinked back tears as he hopped out of the car, blew me a kiss and skipped through the school doors. He’d already moved on to thinking about gym and recess while I sat shell-shocked by his brilliant question – and the unique blend of innocence and wisdom it came from. I so wish I had the answer, little man.
As an intuitive adviser, author & teacher, I help brave-hearted women illuminate their paths to purpose through powerful classes, individual readings, workshops and writings. This blog, started in 2006, chronicles my journey and offers light for yours. Thrilled you're here!