We don’t watch a lot of TV in our house, but I usually have it on in the mornings. I want to watch the weather report (so I can dress my children appropriately), it’s an easy way to keep track of the time, and it’s the only time I get to watch the news bulletin. Over the last few days, however, I’ve begun questioning the wisdom of watching the news with my children.
Yesterday morning’s bulletin included an interview with Mongezi Phike, the schoolboy who was kidnapped last week during a hijacking. “The thugs said they were going to kill my dad,” he said. Angie turned to me, eyes wide. “Why do they want to kill his dad?” she asked.
Before I could untangle my thoughts and give her an appropriate answer, the anchor held up a newspaper to show us the photo of four-year-old Taegrin Morris, who was murdered when his parents’ car was hijacked. “Is that the boy who was killed?” Angie asked.
This was not a conversation I wanted to have at all, let alone so early in the morning. How do I explain hijacking to my children without making them afraid? How do I explain that evil is real, and not everyone gets a happy ending?
I said, “The bad guys stole that other boy’s dad’s car while they were still in it. They pushed his dad out, but drove away with the little boy inside.” I was quick to add that Mongezi was fine, and reminded Angie that she’d just seen him with his mom on TV.
“But why did they steal him? What did his dad do when they stole him? How did they get him back? Did the police catch the bad guys?” On and on, questions she assumed I would know the answers to because she’s still young enough to believe that Mommy and Daddy know everything.
I admit that I was relieved she fixated on Mongezi and not Taegrin. As hard as her questions were, I could give her answers. But if she’d asked, “Why did they kill Taegrin?” I wouldn’t have had an answer.
I don’t have one, because I’m also asking that question.
His photo shows a sweet child with an angelic smile. To think of what was done to him makes me sick to my soul. Has the world really come to this? My heart breaks for his family, for his mother who had to watch them drive away with her little boy. My thoughts keep returning to them and all I can do is lift them up in prayer.
A mother I follow on Twitter shared that she has taught her children what to do in the event of a hijacking, and she has regular drills with them. My heart tells me my children are too young to be taught this, but my head says youth and innocence will not guarantee their safety should we ever be hijacked. How sad that this is necessary, that we have to think of every worst case scenario and prepare our children accordingly.
As horrifying as the events of the past week have been, as much as I want to wrap my children in cotton wool and move us all to the moon, I refuse to live in fear. My God is Sovereign and my life – my children’s lives – are in His hands.
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31: 6 NKJV
Have you spoken to you children about hijackings?