Explaining Hatred

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: May 2, 2011

by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com

How in the world does one explain a concept to a child that most adults struggle with?  I am in that boat.

The alleged death of Osama Bin Laden is being greeted with cheers, anthem-singing and a host of other feelings of joy.

I cannot rejoice in someone's death — even the death of a man linked to some of the worst crimes in human history.  So I reserve judgment.

In the meantime, I struggle with trying to explain this killing to my children —- should they ask.  I really don't see any point in willingly sharing the story with them if they don't ask.

It is so incredibly difficult to process the work of Bin Laden's hands, all in the name of religion and justice.  The needless death of thousands, the destruction of thousands of families, the shattered lives of children, parents, siblings, countries.  How is it possible to make a shred of sense of this?  It really isn't and why would be bother trying. 

An eye for an eye is an ill-conceived notion.  I've never believed in it.  Nor is it something we preach or profess to our kids. 

If asked, I plan to say this to my kids:  There are a few things in life that are very difficult to understand.  This is one of them.  All you need to know is that in general — good things happen to good people and bad things tend to happen to bad people.  Just focus on being a good person and treating other people with respect.  You can only control your own actions, not anyone elses' — so remember that.

Surely they'll ask more questions and perhaps we will be equipped to answer them at one point…when it makes more sense to us.  I doubt it.


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