I spend my days in the company of Middle Schoolers. Their concerns and interests are, to some extent, mine. In this way, I remain sympathetic to their experiences and needs without losing sight of the bigger picture. When I think of the children at the Arianna Grande concert in Manchester, it’s very easy for me picture those adolescent fans. They were over-the-moon excited to see someone they idolize. 12 , 13, and 14 year olds live in the moment so fully that some of them likely had no idea what was happening when trouble blew up.
And then one craven event exploded their world. Some children died; many more survived but will forever have memories of an experience that showed them that the world is a scary and unpredictable place.
It seems to me that the safety of our children should surely be something that we can agree upon despite our differences. I write this while knowing that my own national leadership is fully prepared to cut programs to ease child poverty, leave poor children without basic healthcare, deport the parents of vulnerable immigrant children, currently jails children of color at far greater rates than others, and tolerates police abuse of young men whose skin is darker than my son’s. It’s all unconscionable.
I know it’s not the same as exploding a bomb at an arena filled with kids, but some days that’s exactly how it feels. The slow motion destruction of vulnerable children is no better than a single explosion intended to kill. We need to remember that more often.