EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog post is NOT about baseball, money-grubbing super stars or sports depression – it’s about talking to your kids about life. I offer this disclaimer because I don’t want to lose anyone after the first two paragraphs.
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When Texas Ranger super star Josh Hamilton signed a 5-year, $125 million contract with Los Angeles Angels, I was ready to crucify him. The Angels are the biggest rivals of my beloved Rangers, and I instantly put Hamilton in the same category as Judas and Benedict Arnold.
I started writing him an open letter on this blog to help me cope with my severe sports dejection.
My angle: How in the hell do you raise a son in this greedy sports landscape where loyalty and appreciation are nothing more than afterthoughts?
I was prepared to use my son’s disappointment as my motivation and give Mr. Hamilton a piece of my mind…
But then a lunatic walked into a Connecticut elementary school and killed 20 innocent children.
Instantaneously, baseball and Josh Hamilton became irrelevant, and the point of this blog post completely shifted.
My new angle: How in the hell do you raise a son in this demented landscape where assault weapons and senseless deaths are commonplace?
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I’m fortunate that my son is not even 3 years old. Whether it’s baseball free agency or mass shootings, he doesn’t understand yet.
“I’n watch Mickey Mouse, otay Daddy?”
However, the key word in that previous sentence is “yet.” Fast forward several years and everything will need an explanation – from “how do airplanes fly” to “where do babies come from.”
I know there were hundreds of thousands of adolescents who wanted to know why a man would massacre children.
I’ve seen so many headlines that address this issue:
I did an informal survey of family members and friends with kids, and got a heavy dose of reality.
I talked to a mom of a 6- and 7-year-old, and she shared her philosophy of being proactive and giving her kids the “mommy version” of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary. She didn’t tell me exactly what she told her kids, but it was “edited” for their innocent minds.
I fell in love with that thought process, especially when one child therapist said: “I don’t think there’s any way you can keep children totally away from it. If they don’t hear about it from a parent, they’re going to hear about it on the school bus.”
Then, I talked to other parents who said they would not broach the subject with their kids. If their children started asking questions, that’s when they would discuss the horrific tragedy.
My sister, who’s oldest is 7, was in that camp. She said: “We don’t allow our children to watch violent TV shows, video games, etc….this event was so extremely violent that shielding them from this and ANY violence just seemed necessary, especially due to this event involving children.”