“Mummy! Look, I’m catching the bad guys!”
These were the words of my innocent little four-year-old one afternoon this week as he sat playing with his matchbox police cars. The minute he said those words, not only did I melt with pride because he has a beautiful heart, but suddenly I also felt very sad.
I felt sad because any other week he could have said that and it wouldn’t have felt so raw. In fact, he probably has said it before and it hasn’t even struck a chord, but this week things are different.
My Little Man has no clue how poignant his words were. He doesn’t know just what kind of world we are currently living in. He has no clue that there are so many good people out there that are doing that very thing – trying to catch the bad guys.
In his eyes, or at least in his game, the bad guys were driving cars too fast. In his game, the bad guys were stealing burgers from the burger bar on his playmat. He caught them and he put them in prison. He was having a whale of a time.
Little Man is four years old. Of course, he has no clue what completely utterly, dreadful act took place this week. He has no clue that so many people lost their lives doing something that his Mummy loves to do – go to concerts. He is too young to know and too young to even begin to understand, and for that I am so very grateful.
Children grow up so fast and soon enough he will be old enough to start asking questions. I need to be prepared for that.
Children shouldn’t have to ask these kinds of questions and we shouldn’t have to be trying to find the words. But sadly, Little Man’s game isn’t too far from the truth. There are too many bad guys out there and for whatever screwed up reason, they are insistent on taking innocent lives. Children’s innocent lives.
How are we meant to feel?
This world we live in feels like a frightening place right now. I’m not going to lie and say I’m not scared because I am. I know I will likely feel nervous at the Robbie Williams gig in two weeks time when I see the extra security. I also know I won’t be alone. Many others will be feeling the same, whether they admit it or not.
I’ve lost count how many concerts I have been to over the last 25 years. Too many to even try and count. Carefree, happy times. As they should be. But now? Now we will always feel like we’re looking over our shoulders. Looking for the bad guys.
Good outweighs bad
But at the same time, we need to remember the good guys. The paramedics, the hospital staff, the police, the normal people in the street, the taxi drivers, the homeless people – the good guys who come through when tragedy strikes. There are so many more of them.
In times of tragedy, as hard as it is, we need to remember that there are so many more good guys than bad guys and that is something I will be teaching my Little Man as he grows up and learns more about the world.
I hope one day ‘catching bad guys’ can really mean cops and robbers on a playmat with matchbox cars, not trying to stop barbaric, terrorist acts of cowardice. We can only hope. We have to for the sake of our children.
My thoughts are with the families and all of those affected by the horrific events in Manchester on Monday, 22nd May 2017.
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