Quick link: Motherhood in an Age of Terrorism

This essay weighs heavily on me. I had something else planned for this month at Brain Child but I couldn’t stop thinking about what its like to raise children in a time when there is so much fear and division and more fear. I have plenty of things to be afraid of, we all do. The stranger handing candy out to kids, the drunk driver, the bicycle accident, the bully, the disease…Now schools and malls and planes are targets for violence too. I sometimes can’t sleep because of the what-ifs that flood my mind. How many other mothers in urban Paris, suburban Minneapolis, Syrian refugee camps, Djiboutian villages, go to sleep with similar and worse fears?

But. That very real fear that plagues parents raising kids in an age of terrorism is another full topic for a different essay. This one is about raising kids with intention right now, in this current climate. Okay, so there’s things to be afraid of. What do we do? Do we retreat and isolate? Do we engage? What kind of example to want to set? How? And is there any hope?

peace walk

Here’s an excerpt (and I’m excited that Brain Child chose this essay as their Saturday Think Piece)

Three days after terrorists killed seventeen people in Paris my daughter said at lunch, “Muslims can kill anyone they want, right?”

Terrorism and religious extremism is not hypothetical for my family. A week after suicide bombers blew up a restaurant in Djibouti my daughter asked how we could be sure the Somalia-based terror group al-Shabaab wouldn’t blow up our airplane. My kids go to school behind barbed wire, the walls guarded by armed soldiers and policemen. Sometimes a tank shows up to guard the entrance. We’ve received death threats and people have made throat-cutting motions at us. A man on a bus once shouted that I would be the first person he would kill.

This child asking about al-Shabaab and Muslims killing people? She was born on September 11. Not the September 11. Four years later but we will never be able to mention her birthday without thinking of 2001. She was born in a Muslim country and a Somali midwife delivered her. She is our light on a dark day.

Click here to read more of Motherhood in an Age of Terrorism