This I Know

“Mom, can you read this for me?” my oldest asked me yesterday morning.

Glancing down at what he held in his hands, I saw a piece from his Ninjago Lego set.

“Oh, honey, I’m sorry, but I can’t read that.”

“What? You don’t know how to read Chinese?”

No, I don’t.

There are a lot of things I don’t know.

My boys are still at an age where they do believe Mom and Dad know everything… or at least almost everything… or at least that we know how to google it if we don’t know.

And yet, yesterday afternoon, I had to tell him for the second time in a day that I didn’t know.

I had explained to my two oldest about the tragic killings in Connecticut, realizing that they would most likely hear about it at school and I wanted them to hear it from me first, so I could focus the message on how loved and safe they are and that they shouldn’t be afraid. Even as my mama heart worried, knowing that things like this really can happen anywhere.

I let them ask questions.

My oldest thought for a few minutes and then asked why this happened.

I don’t know.

I will never understand why things like this happen.

There’s so much I just don’t know.

But, this I know:

I know that this is not something easily gotten over: nor should it be.

I know that this is not a time to fight and push our personal political agendas.

I know that the petty worries I had just a few short days ago are just that- petty.

I know that I love my kids with all my heart.

I know that their teachers love them, too.

I know that there are many more good people in this world than ones who would do something like this.

I know that this is the time to show kindness: to our families, our friends, our teachers… and everyone we can.

I know that the most important thing right now is to love each other.

I know that we have to find a way to put one foot in front of another and continue on with our lives, to have our children see that we haven’t given up hope, even as we keep the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers.

What do you know?


  1. says

    Great post Shell.I had to talk to my 6YO, and he had a few questions I couldn’t answer. Best thing I did was tell him that the teachers at school protect him when I’m not there and that this is something that has never happened before. I don’t want him to be afraid of school. It’s so hard to wrap my head around this…so very sad.

  2. says

    Just beautiful, Shell. These things are so hard to discuss with our kids, I think because there are no easy answers and no simple explanations. My girls were in school when Columbine occurred and I remember thinking how closely I held them that night, and how much I prayed for those families. My tears fell fast and hard then just as they did this past weekend. 
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  3. says

    I am glad that at 2, I don’t have to have this conversation with my son . I know that we can’t accept that these things happen we need for things to change and for our kids not to have to live in fear. I know that there is still good in this world.
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  4. says

    I know, that you put into words what many of us feel. I think, that being kind to one another, not just now but in the future is so so important. And I hope, that as we sit here and appreciate all that we have right now… we will remember this feeling and keep it with us always. 
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  5. says

    As an educator this story has hit home. You don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to really speak out to people about how they are putting down teachers, the school system, etc because of what happened in CT. Granted much of the news told us the wrong story at first, so people were just reacting from what they were hearing but still gives them no right.

    There’s no way of knowing everything but those that do know that everything was done that was possible is what matters.
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  6. says

    So beautifully expressed Shell. I’ve been struggling with how to put much of this into words. We haven’t spoken about it with our kids. Youngest is too little to understand and the oldest, who’s in Kindergarten, I feel is still too young. He’s *so* sensitive and I know that for us, right now, it makes sense not to discuss unless he comes to us with questions. Maybe I’m shielding him or maybe I’m just shielding myself, I’m not sure. Maybe a little of both.
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  7. says

    Yep…I said those same words all weekend, “I don’t know.” The hardest part is knowing where to go from here. Knowing that life goes on but finding it hard to get back to normal. So, what I know is that I’ll keep the families in my prayers and I’ll pray for the safety of my kids when they walk out the door because it’s the only think I know to do. And I’ll just try to keep moving forward.
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  8. says

    We have been so sad for those involved in that tragedy in Connecticut. We wish we could do more to ease their pain. So far, prayer is the best thing we can come up with.

  9. says

    I completely agree with you and thank you for this post…my heart has been broken but I still have faith that there is more good than evil in this world…even when something tragic like this happens.
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  10. says

    Beautiful words, beautifully stated.  I honestly was kind of glad that I had the Give Away post as a buffer before writing a post that must, in some way, be shaped by this tragedy.  I say must because really everything in my life is in some way shaped by it.  XO
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  11. says

    I know God is not responsible for the harm we do to each other. I wrote a post about this yesterday.
    We are all grieving for those Newtown families, and yes, I hope we can prevent this again, but if we would turn to God on how to live honorably, we wouldn’t be so mad at Him later when things go terribly wrong.

  12. says

    Oh my friend, YES. There are things will all know..
    I hope You know that as one mom to another that I stand with you and know we are stronger in numbers, we are better in communities.

    I don’t know if I could have gotten through this weekend without being able to reach out to all of you or to hug my own children and know that I loved them, that you loved them and I loved your children as my own.

    This was just beautiful Shell.
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  13. says

    you’re so right Shell.. this brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t tell Bailey about what happened and as far as I know he hasnt heard anything I just can’t tell my innocent 5 year old about things like that. I cant handle it I dont think he could either.
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  14. says

    Amen. I know that when darkness falls, my only light is my children’s faces of innocence. I have a hard time registering all this. It just feels incomprehensible. And all I want to do is show kindness and good and have my children still believe that kindness and good are still abundant in this world. Right? It is still abundant, I swear it is…
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  15. says

    It’s impossible to know evil. My oldest is a worrier. This frightened her. She came home to tell me about the two police officers that are now stationed in her middle school. She said it made her feel better. I can appreciate that, but at the same time I am so sad that she feels like she needs them.
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  16. says

    Very nicely said!  And yes– this is something that none of us quite know why it happened.  Alex is still blissfully unaware of it all and Lucas would be if I had not talked with him about it.  I think being on the other side of the country has sheltered at least the younger kids from the news of it a bit.  
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  17. says

    I know that I think you’re very wise in all that you know.

    And I know that my daughter has been my one ray of joy in an otherwise bleak holiday season, and that I am basking in her light and redirecting it right back at her every chance I get.

    Lovely post, Shell. 
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  18. says

    Oh that why question. That’s what my oldest kept asking too. Why. I just shook my head. If only any of us could understand. I think you are beyond wise my friend. xo

  19. says

    I too know, there is more good out there then bad.  Nate is not even 3.5 yet and he picked up from the small amount of news coverage we watched that a bad man was in a school and shot kids.  He decided several days ago that shooting is a bad word that he doesn’t want to hear said and he’s so young!!
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