Those Pencils Protect Us

Captain’s Log. Daddy Chronicles. Diaper Date 1747. 

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I took the Eldest to the Air Show yesterday.  She had a lot of fun.  There were planes, bouncey houses, planes, and did I mention bouncey houses?  She wasn’t super impressed with the planes unless they were flying, but she got to spend some quality time with her cousin. 
We were walking past the pictured plane when I encountered a conversation that I hadn’t even thought of being a possibility.  A young boy pointed to the plane and said, “Daddy are those pencils?”
The dad replied, “No, son. Those are not pencils.” He chuckled a bit and then knelt down to explain to his young son what the “pencils” were. 
What did he say?  Did he give the Colonel Jessup speech. (warning…some “bad language” not suitable for little kids.)
The Captain was curious, but I didn’t want to be a complete stalker.  I am not a fan of war, but I am not naive to think that our enemies can always be talked out of attempting to cause us harm. Having said that, I appreciate, respect, and admire the brave men and women that protect our freedom on a daily basis.  We owe them more than thanks.  Their dedication allows us the freedom to squabble about petty stupid things like sport teams and new technology.  Those men and women are amazing. 
But how do I explain the threat of conflict to a four year old?
Those are missles.
Why do we need missles?
For the bad guys. 
Why do we have to shoot the bad guys?
Because there are people out there that want to hurt us.
Why?
I don’t know honey, but those missles help keep us safe. 

I keep running this conversation through my head and I just don’t have the right words.

I remember being in my classroom on 9/11. My students were scared, confused, and angry. A lot of them went home early. My classroom had a window and at one point I saw a dad and a younger sibling of a student walking hand in hand. In isolation, it was a beautiful sight.
A student asked me why I was smiling. I answered, “Because nothing beats the human spirit.”
That little girl skipping through the parking lot somehow reassured me, settled me. But now that I have a little girl her age how do I explain that those aren’t “pencils” on the plane. How do I reassure her?

Poop Deck Community, have you had this conversation with your kids? What did you say? The Captain would love to hear, so please leave a comment below.

Special thanks again to the men and women who protect our freedom.
Captain out.

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2 thoughts on “Those Pencils Protect Us

  1. I remember that we were in the world war 2 museum here and my little girl asked me why people would make things like guns to hurt other people. For the first time in my life, I did not know what to say.

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