Master A came home from school last week and asked me about the London terror attack on Westminster Bridge. I was a little surprised that he was aware of the attack as he doesn’t normally take much interest in the news – but I was even more shocked by his emotional response to it.
“I know I’m not supposed to hate anyone, Mummy, but I hate these people for what they have done,” he said. “Why would they do that, Mummy?”
He looked at me with such anger in his eyes. I looked back at him, with sadness and a heavy heart.
Hate is a banned word in our house. It is such a sad word and a lonely emotion.
I didn’t know how to answer him. How do you explain to a nine-year-old, one who is raised in love to be tolerant, kind and respectful to all, about an attack that goes against these very beliefs and values?
I don’t want Master A to hate. I don’t want him change the way he views and values those around him because then a bunch of cowards, a small minority who choose to live among us and yet “hate” democracy and freedom, win.
I sat him down and tried to explain as best I could. I told him that these people were just like a mean, school bully.
Instead of hate, he should feel pity for them because they are scared.
Scared of everything around them. Imagine how empty and lonely that must feel. What a lack of joy and happiness they must experience.
I continued that the best way to respond to the violence and madness of these people was to stand up for what is right by continuing to live normally and to defend one’s beliefs while respecting all others.
He looked at me.
“OK, Mummy. I won’t say I hate them… but I do dislike them intensely.”
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