The Man Who Taught My Kids To Cheer Death: Osama Bin Laden
I first heard the news from my middle daughter, Laura. "Bin Laden is DEAD!" she texted.
Next, my youngest daughter followed suit, also texting, "Osama Bin Laden is dead!"
Finally, my son ran down the stairs. "Are you seeing this?" he asked. "Bin Laden is dead!"
My kids were thrilled. And I was sad.
Not because a horrible, hateful terrorist was gone from this world. Good riddance. But because the legacy this vile creature left had my children cheering death.
As mothers, we teach our children to respect life. We want them to love, to believe in goodness and hope. To value humanity. We strive mightily to correct even the slighest misstep when they're young. "No, no. Don't hit. That's not nice." "Share your toys and be nice to your friends." "Just because someone is different doesn't mean you're better than them. Be nice."
And they look to us, wide-eyed, and swallow everything we say, fully believing that if mommy says it, it must be so.
Then they grow up. Sadly, it doesn't take an Osama Bin Laden for them to realize that not everyone values life. Not everyone abhors violence. The first time some bully attacks them or one of their friends is reason enough for them to doubt what we've taught them. Yet we still encourage them to hold on to hope and to goodness.
Until evil raises its head in the form of someone like Bin Laden. Then, no explanation suffices. There is no reasoning that will justify the spewing of hatred that results in so many innocent deaths.
That's when our children begin to hate. That's when they learn suspicion and any semblance of innocence disappears. And no matter that Bin Laden is now gone, he's left a part of himself for all of us and our children--the ability to hate and to cheer death and murder.
And yes, I'm glad he's gone, but I'm so sad about what he left behind.