Lessons for Momma in the wake of the Boston tragedy

In light of the events of the week I have fed my addiction for the 24 hour news cycle (much to my husbands dismay). Yet it somehow pulled me from my self-imposed depression of yet another relocation with a toddler.  This of course is a blog for another day and so insignificant comparatively.  I am a military brat and liberally conservative by nature. Of course I have my personal opinion of the individuals involved in the Boston tragedy. But my reaction as a daughter who's father was in the Pentagon on 9/11 was surpassed by a strong sense of needing to learn something from this for my child.  I am first and foremost his momma.  

In my need for clarity I have overdosed on commentary and newspaper articles about the Boston tragedy which has forced me to a realization beyond the current developmental stage of my little lovebug.   As parents our job is so vitally important to ensure our children know themselves and are proud of who we are as individuals and where we come from. With a child who's last name know one can pronounce, who speaks one language to his Momma and another to his Papa he will experience life differently than even I did.  I must teach him pride in who he is no matter what the circumstance.  It doesn't matter if he never meets people who could lead him down a path of destruction.  I want him to have the skills to live fully.  I know my child is only 20 months old.  I have the luxury of this opinion as we have not yet reached the truly hard part of making this happen.  But this time allows me an unforeseen opportunity.  

I heard family members and analysts alike give their opinions on how difficult it was for these brothers to assimilate to the American culture forcing them to radicalize. It quickly brought my thoughts to someone I once knew.  A beautiful girl who lost her parents and entire family but two brothers in the  Chechen War.  She was 17. I met her a mere seven days after she arrived in the states as a refugee.  All who knew her witnessed how utterly devastating life became for her. Her story was tragic. Yet despite of her horror she was beautiful and extraordinary in every way. On the other hand living abroad I can understand the assimilation issue. But the momma in me feels the issue is much more significant than assimilation. I heard someone say on one of the news shows something along the lines of ... 'As a country America is one of the best examples of embracing other cultures specifically those of Arab and Muslim decent.  We need to remember how hard we have worked as individuals to make this happen.' Living in the UK and traveling throughout Europe this statement really hit home for me personally.  It is true. The drastic division is so apparent it is almost shocking. As an American without seeing it myself I would have never imagined people could live in such a way.  Americans are special this way in my opinion. I want my child to know and feel this pride.  

I believe our generation raises children differently.  We try very hard to make sure our children see people as people. We appreciate differences in others and want this diversity to allow our children the opportunity of interacting with others who are different-whether it be religion, heritage or even something as simple as the foods we eat.  It's such a monumental yet simple task for me as a parent to help my child understand why we are different from our friends and peers. Things as simple as why we do not get happy meals though we are not vegetarians.  Yet we drink rice milk because after reading "Skinny Bitch" I could never force down another glass of dairy milk without thinking of every USDA report I read and the poor little cows. Why every night we pray to God because we believe faith and acceptance of Him is a top priority. Why we eat at a table in a chair not roaming around the house or restaurant. We are who we are by choice and show who we are by our actions.  While these do not compare to extremism of some individuals this is how we live in our home.  I want my child to know to the core of who he is, to be an individual and find his strength and happiness there. 

Now before I offend anyone who may feel I am trivializing the issue I am not.  I also don't kid myself-my own family thinks I'm insane with a lot of the things I do as a parent.  But just as I was raised to stand strong in my beliefs I am not hindered from forging ahead as I please... with confidence learned the hard way.

I do not understand how a person could become someone so disillusioned they could make a bomb full of nails and set it off in a crowd of people.  Or even walk into a school full of children and shoot them.  My solution and hope these things stop occurring is as a parent to know my responsibility.  Teach my child respect of himself and others.    He must feel these things with such conviction they are part of his inherent nature.  

Life is precious.  Strength is invaluable. Confidence is essential.  Love and respect of all are the tools to living and surviving this sometimes harsh world.  As a parent I pray I am given the blessings of teaching this to my sweet little boy. 

My thoughts and prayers are with Boston and the families living through this unimaginable tragedy.

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