That was the question my 11-year-old son asked me yesterday — just a few weeks after asking another tough question, “What does transgender mean?”
I will admit in both cases my knee-jerk, momma bear, reaction was to tell my son as little as possible and shield him from things he shouldn’t have to deal with or even know about at this young age. But the fact that he was asking the question clearly indicated the protective shield had already been penetrated, and I was just grateful he felt comfortable enough to come to me with his question.
With all the stories flooding the news attempting to normalize debauchery and the myriad court decisionsradically changing our culture, questions like these will become much more common.
As tragic as that is, at least our children are asking the questions. It is when the questions stop that we need to be truly alarmed.
As I sat with my son contemplating how to answer his question and how much to tell him, I determined the best answer was the truth. So, in the best way possible, I explained the process of killing a baby in a mother’s womb — sometimes by crushing their little head.
A lump formed in my throat as I tried to explain — in the best way possible — that sometimes the babies live outside the womb and are left to die or the doctor kills them. I then went on to explain the news stories of Planned Parenthood and how the babies’ body parts and little limbs are collected and sold for research. Shock filled my son’s face, tears spontaneously erupting as he clung to me for comfort, trying to understand how such a horrible thing could be possible. Then came more questions.
“Why don’t the police arrest them?” he asked through pleading eyes.
“It’s not illegal,” I answered.
“Why?” he asked confused.
“Because the people in the government say it is a woman’s right. They say mommies can kill their babies because the baby is inside their body.”
“You mean moms can kill their own babies?”
“Well,” I hesitated, “the mommies don’t kill their babies. They pay someone else to do it.”
“What?” he asked horror-struck. “Why would they do that? Why would they want to kill their own babies?”
“Because they don’t want their baby.”
“Why don’t they give the baby to someone else?”
“I don’t know. I guess it’s easier for them not to think of their baby as a baby. Instead, they just think of their baby as unwanted tissue — kind of like a mole you don’t want so you have it removed. Some mommies can’t afford to pay to kill their babies so the government pays for it using the tax money that Daddy and I pay.”
“You pay to kill babies?”
“Not by choice son. It is the law to pay taxes. If Daddy and I don’t pay them the government can take our house away and they can put us in jail.”
“What are taxes?”
“It is the money we pay to the government to build roads and buildings to help our town. Tax money pays for the military, for police and fireman and important things like that.”
“And killing babies?”
“Unfortunately, yes. Our taxes didn’t use to pay for killing babies but they do now.”
“Why don’t you tell the government you don’t want your taxes to pay for killing babies?”
“We have. They said we have to because some mommy’s can’t afford to kill their babies and we should help them.”
At this, my son was absolutely stupefied. “Does the president know about this?”
“Yes,” I said. “He supports it. So do many government leaders and a lot of people in our country too.”
My little boy looked at with me with his questioning eyes. “Who can stop this?” he asked despairingly.
“You can, son,” I said. “You and all the children like you who are growing up knowing its wrong in a world that keeps trying to convince you its right. Never give up on what you know to be true.”
With one last embrace and a wipe of tears, my son went back outside to focus on childhood things like backyard friends and swimming holes and another difficult conversation ended.
Our children are living in a very different world than the one you and I grew up in. Childhood innocence is no longer commonplace. It is a luxury. But this is the world in which we live and we can’t just hide our heads in the sand and hope it goes away. The only way things will change is if we change them!
Our children are the hope of the future. They will have questions. If we don’t answer their questions someone else will and we may not like the answer.
How do we teach our children about these things? We need to provide a firm foundation our children can build from and rely on. We need to help them understand the difference between good and bad, right and wrong, light and darkness. We need to teach them truth, stand for truth and help them navigate in a world gone mad. Most of all, we need teach our children that just because this is the way things are doesn’t mean it always was and it isn’t the way it has to be.
As Ghandi said, “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
If more mothers had conversations with their children like I had with my son, just imagine how different the world would look in 20 years.