Perhaps by now you have seen this video interview of a French father and son about the tragedy in Paris. The boy appears to be no more than about 4 years old. The reporter wants to know if he understands what has happened in Paris. They are standing beside one of the massacre sites covered now in flowers and candles. The boy says, “yes, really bad men did this.”
Very quickly, this turns into a moment of crisis for the boy and for me (and perhaps you)
as the viewer. “We have to move house because of these bad men.” the boy says. “No, we don’t have to move,” the father says. “But, daddy, there are bad men here.” “Yes,” the father says, “but there are bad men everywhere. Besides, we have the flowers.”
I am stunned. The little boy is clearly aware that the guns have done all this horror. He is afraid. He thinks they need to move. And his father offers: but we have the flowers. The little boy argues: but flowers cannot do anything. Dad counters: the flowers and the candles can protect us.
What sort of father tries to convince his son that flowers and candles can protect us against guns?
The kind of father who understands the human heart.
I don’t doubt for a moment that this dad was clear about what guns can do. He simply refused to let what guns did be the final word for his little man who will one day be a grown man. Flowers and candles prevail over what guns have done. Flowers and candles protect the human heart even after and beyond what guns can do to the human body.
This daddy created a harbor for his little one. True courage–to suggest that flowers and candles are more powerful than guns. He’s either crazy, or he understands something terribly important about what our being here on this earth means.
Thank you for this. It reminds me of my son’s first comment to me after 9/11. He was in kindergarten. He said, “Mommy, when the bad men come to my school, how will you know which hospital I am in?” Not IF the bad men come, but WHEN. The world shifted tectonically that day, and again last Friday.