This Is What We Can Say to Our Kids About Terrorism

Mummy Mumbles
Mummy Mumbles / Facebook

In the wake of this week's terrorist attack in Manchester, many of us are struggling with how to talk to our kids. Even before the bombing, the world already felt like such a scary and volatile place, filled with deep political divides, escalating tension between nations, and so much uncertainty about the future. It's a scary time to be a parent, and it's tempting to let our anxieties get the best of us. But one UK mom is taking the opposite approach, and her stunning message to her baby son about how to thrive in this frightening world is one every parent needs to read.

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In a letter to her son on Facebook, Bekki Pope, who blogs at Mummy Mumbles, writes about her heartbreak in hearing about the Manchester attack. "I fear that these incidents are only going to happen more and more as you get older," she says in her post, "and it makes me so sick to think I cannot protect you from the barbaric individuals who do things like this."

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But, rather than living in fear and trying to keep her son in a bubble, Pope says she wants her son to live his life to the fullest anyway. She writes:

"As you grow up, you may think that it makes more sense and is safer to just 'stay in and not do anything.' As your mother, who loves you so much it hurts, I have this message for you.

'Do not do that. Go out.... and do EVERYTHING.'

Do everything you want to do.

Go everywhere you want to go.

See everyone you want to see."

In her post, Pope admits how scary it is that we can't always shield our children from the "monsters" who would try to harm them. But that doesn't mean we have to let them win by keeping us afraid.

"If I cannot fight these monsters for you, I'm sure as hell gonna teach you how to do that yourself. By. Just. Living. Your. Life. They don't want you to do that. They don't win if you do that. So do it. Every day. Never be afraid to enjoy yourself and live your life to the fullest. I cannot guarantee that one day, you may not come face to face with their horrors and destruction. I cannot guarantee that you may not know someone who is killed in a terrorism related incident, or god forbid, are hurt yourself in their bid to injure and kill people. But remember this - They cannot kill strength. They cannot kill determination. They cannot kill love."

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Living fearlessly seems like the exact opposite of what so many of us want to do right now. Every other week, it seems, there's another mass shooting or terrorist attack or even just an unsavory political controversy. Violence and fear have become so much a part of our daily lives that it seems almost impossible to just feel normal, relaxed, carefree.

But, in a time when so many of us are struggling to process terrible things happening in the world, Pope's words are a stunning reminder that there's still so much good around us -- and the good matters more. She tells her son to "look for the goodies" -- the nurses, paramedics, taxi drivers, police officers, and Good Samaritans helping on the streets. And, most importantly, she reminds him to never lose hope. She writes:

"Your generation are going to be the strongest yet. You are going to be the most determined to beat this. And you are going to have the most love to give, because we will teach you that you mustn't be afraid of these monsters ... We will teach you, our children, not to be afraid and to live harder, happier and stronger than any of us ever did. We will hold your hands and lead you through all of this. We will show you the heroes always beat the villains."

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