How I Talked About The Boston Marathon with My Child

Last week, I wrote an article called Teaching Hatred Through Sports.  Little did I know about the hatred that would occur yesterday at the Boston Marathon.  Although the entire situation sickens me; I have understood that one of the dead is an 8 year old child.  I cannot pretend to imagine what the family is going through.  At a time where there are few answers to be found; here is how I talked about the situation with my 9 year old son.  There may be a tip you would like to use with your child as well.

I have to admit that I have a hard time understanding the depths of evil which is what the attack in Boston represents.  Therefore, I knew that talking with my child would be difficult.  When working with children in general, I like to put things in their simplest form.  Therefore, how can I explain why any person or group would want to perpetrate such an act?  The answer was more simple than I anticipated.

First, I opened up the conversation by sticking to the facts.  I knew Cameron was going to hear about it at school so I wanted to him to hear the truth from me first.  We didn’t discuss at length the casualties or the types of injuries.  I also decided to keep the television off while discussing the details.  The story is bad enough without being sensationalized any further.  He knows that there were two bombs and one was close to the finish line.  It went off and a lot of people were significantly injured.

Next, I discussed with him the general concept of evil and that it has been present throughout time.  Evil is the only answer to the question of why something like this could happen.  It doesn’t make the horror yesterday any easier to handle but it is reality.  Our society is not even that far removed from the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting which was evil at its core in my mind. I think the reality is that we, as Americans, are going to have to get used to terror of various types more frequently on U.S. soil.  Despite my belief, I didn’t discuss my speculation with Cameron because it wouldn’t do anything to help explain the situation any clearer or assist the healing process.

Finally, Cameron and I talked about praying for the victims and their families.  Cameron and I only hope that any prayers we send will reach a family in need.

Next week, I will be back with another topic where I’ll probably ruffle some feathers.  My only advice for today is to give your child a longer hug than usual and appreciate the gift you truly have.  Feel free to check out and “like” my Facebook page at claytonpaulthomas.  I can also be found on twitter @adad2trust.  Best wishes to you and your family.



  1. rachaelswalker73 says:

    Hi Clayton!
    Great post. I think it's important to discuss and explain these things with your children before they hear a sensationalised version from their friends.

  2. claytonthomas says:

    Thanks for reading. That was certainly my thinking. In the days which have passed, I can tell you that there was a lot of sensationalism at school but Cameron wasn't scared over it. Thank goodness!