Letter: Explaining Evil To Our Children

“THE CONVERSATION HAS BECOME ALMOST FORMULAIC …” Dear Editor, One of the toughest challenges of being a parent is explaining evil to your children.  Parents instinctively try to protect their kids from anything that can harm them, but when it comes to information, sometimes exposing them to the darker parts…


Dear Editor,

One of the toughest challenges of being a parent is explaining evil to your children.  Parents instinctively try to protect their kids from anything that can harm them, but when it comes to information, sometimes exposing them to the darker parts of the world is actually better for them in the long run because they will often be the ones who advocate for something better when their parents can’t – or won’t.

That’s the situation I found myself in Thursday morning when I first learned about the shootings in Charleston, S.C.  As I devoured the developing news online, my children – ages 6, 12, and 13 – slowly woke up around me.  “Mom, what’s wrong?” my daughter asked.  “Are you okay?” inquired my son.  Kids can sense when something’s amiss.

I found myself discussing the term “hate crime” with my oldest two – again.  The youngest was happily watching a cartoon on the computer through his headphones, and I made the decision to let him live in innocent bliss a little while longer … because he’s my baby, and I desperately and selfishly want to hold on to that innocence for as long as possible.  My recently-graduated 6th and 7th graders certainly know what racism is.  They have studied the American Civil Rights era in school.  They follow current events.  They remember Trayvon Martin. They know about Ferguson and Eric Garner and Walter Scott.

That’s why I say, “again.” I first had a conversation about “racially-motivated violence” and “fear of the other” with them when Trayvon Martin was killed in 2012.  And the hits just kept on coming.  Soon we added “police brutality” to our lexicon.  By now, at ages 12 and 13, my kids get it.  And for me as a mother, their knowledge of the world is heartbreaking.

When nine people were murdered this week in Charleston, my first instinct was to turn off the TV and snap my laptop shut.  But, once again, I didn’t.  I haven’t since Trayvon – at least not for the older kids.  I let them watch.  I let them read.  And then, we talked.  Unfortunately, that conversation has become almost formulaic at this point.  Yes, every case is different with its own unique set of circumstances.  But the common thread is undeniable – a dead black person … or nine.

That’s the part that no one tells you about when you hold that brand new little person in your arms for the first time.  That one day, when you least expect it, you will have to explain the evils of the world to that tiny bundle and hope that she can make sense of it in her mind because you sure can’t.  While you’re still working out your own sense of loss and grief and anger, you’ll have to help your children do the same.  While you’re trying to figure out what you can do to bring about change, you’ll look at your kids and hope you can do it in time – for them.  That’s been happening in my home too often these days, and it’s taking my breath away.

Amy Lazenby
Washington, D.C.



Amy: Great to hear your perspective again.  Very heartfelt – why I miss your columns.  Thank you so much for sharing this with our readers.


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Frank Right June 19, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Looks like I am the first one to comment on this thread, but what do you do when a child asks, “why is that boy dressed like a woman? I think he’s pretending and it’s a joke?”

I support their rights to do whatever they want to do, but I am leaning back to the right, because they are abusing it. Employers now have to install restrooms for those claiming opposite sex. How long before we carry that on insurance?

I am a firm believer that one person’s right ends where another’s begin. But….this is getting ridiculous!

Citizen in Cola June 19, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Our parents lived through the Holocaust and our fathers saw evil up front a personal in Europe during WWII. But, they did not teach us about evil. We need to recognized it, but have the kind of courage and faith that the families in Charleston are exhibiting to confront it. I am blown away by their responses during this time of grief. Jesus has to be proud that they got His message and we should learn from them. It is inappropriate for our Governor to ignore the feelings of this family and to respond with hate – overstepping her bounds and the role our judicial system must play in this process. It is not her place to tell the media that “we” want the death penalty. It is way to early to determine what is just and right and it is the role of the jury and the judge to do that. She needs to read the Constitution.

euwe max June 19, 2015 at 7:36 pm


shifty henry June 19, 2015 at 7:55 pm

Amy, well written……

Mike at the Beach June 21, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Stop, amigo. Please. You’ll only encourage her…

People Pretend To Know June 19, 2015 at 8:16 pm

Yeah. Right. “Parents instinctively try to protect their kids from anything that can harm them.”
Many times when shopping, I have occasion to come across black mothers fussing at their children. Its shocking sometimes what I overhear. Statements like, “I will box you if you don’t shut your trap.” “When we get homz Is going whip yo ass.” “knock off that shit and be quiet or I slap you.”
Instinctively try to protect, huh?

~Get Real June 20, 2015 at 12:19 am

My recommendation to you is to turn off the MSM.

You need to understand the media is about fear. That is their “directive” to get the masses to conform to the latest DC needs. They use fear to manipulate you into believing you need DC to save you.

This situation, while a tragedy, will become the next “poster child” killing to justify DC’s desire to remove guns from the American people. You know because they are falling into the wrong hands and people are dying.

If people are not willing to do the real research, they will believe what is being fed to them by the MSM. This is why Americans are considered the sheeple. The majority are asleep.

What is sad is to have awakened and to watch it happening from the sidelines.

~get real

The Government June 20, 2015 at 7:59 pm

We know where you are and we are coming to get your guns.

Be afraid.Be Very Afraid!

~Get Real June 20, 2015 at 10:27 pm

LOL .. Good luck with that, I don’t own any but you’re welcome to come hang out.

Victorious Secret June 21, 2015 at 1:54 pm

“[T]he media is about fear.” –> YES
“They use fear to manipulate you . . . ” –> YES, again
“If people are not willing . . . they will believe what is being fed to them . . . ” –> Yes, again

Well done!

You did forget to mention that it also is entirely a business. A business interested in doing nothing other than selling advertisements via increasing readership (er, “clicker”-ship.)

~Get Real June 21, 2015 at 6:13 pm


So agree… they feed off of each other. A huge industry created to manage you and your likes and dislikes and to feed you what they want you to know.

It is outrageously out of control.

~get real

Bible Thumper June 20, 2015 at 9:41 am

My recently-graduated 6th and 7th graders certainly know what racism is.  They have studied the American Civil Rights era in school.  They follow current events.  They remember Trayvon Martin. They know about Ferguson and Eric Garner and Walter Scott.

Amy, the tragedy in Charleston is a clear cut case of racism, but in these other cases, we have very little information on the motivation or mind set of the perpetrators. We know these events have resulted in racial tensions and of course racists exist.

Ferguson is complex. The department was run in a fashion that exploited blacks, but there is no evidence that Darren Wilson was motivated by racism. Do you teach your children that our judicial system is racist for clearing Darren Wilson or George Zimmerman? Each of these incidents has complexities. We can agree that the use of deadly force against Walter Scott was murder, but what evidence is there the the officer was racist?

9" June 20, 2015 at 10:41 am

Always remember,’the banality of evil’,and I’m not sure this kid is ‘evil’,but mentally ill.
An evil person has no conscience.The first thing that comes to mind is someone like,Jerry Sandusky ,Ted Bundy or Dennis Rader(BTK).Those are just ones that got caught.This also ads to ‘trends’ in senseless murder.If you look at statistics,serial killers had their biggest impact in the 1980’s,but now,it’s mass murder,and one probably leads to another;some sort of generational aberration.

Squishy123 June 20, 2015 at 11:54 am

Well Junior, have a seat, there was a bad man who went into a church and pewpew’d nine people who were there for Sunday school on the wrong day. He only shot black people so you don’t have anything to worry about. Now go tell Mom I said you could have a popsicle.

Slartibartfast June 21, 2015 at 12:26 am

“Kevin: Yes, why does there have to be evil?
Supreme Being: Ah.. Yes.. I think it has something to do with free will.” – Time Bandits (1981)

• First of all, you can tell your children that they can choose to do good.
• Second, tell them that they are not victims and can live a life in America which they choose, if they are willing to work hard enough.
• Third, get them into a karate class and train them, properly to respect firearms.
• Fourth, make sure you send them to a school which teaches grammar and science and math as well as the fine arts.
• Fifth, teach them about the silliness of opinion science and the goodness of the scientific method
• Sixth, take them to Church or Synagog or Temple, but TAKE THEM, so that they can learn about a loving and good God.
• Seventh, teach them to share as individuals and the evil of collective thought.
• Finally, hug them every day and put them in the time-out chair when necessary. Learn to love and let go. Teach them strength.

~Get Real June 21, 2015 at 6:16 pm

I agree with all of these… however, my fav is the tap-dance. This is what life is all about. Someone who knows how to tap-dance well can maneuver through the most difficult of situations.

~get real


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