Wednesday, April 17, 2013

'mr, president, how many kids will ask their mothers tonight, am i safe?"

Boo, at the top of the Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh, PA on Mt. Washington.
He's holding up a sign that says "America is Awesome! Peace on Earth!"
"I want everyone to be able to see it," he said.
Taken by me on March 30, 2013 

My boy is very much a news and politics junkie.

Yeah, that old saying about the apple not falling far from the tree?

Absolutely true.

Members of Congress and the Senate are household names around our kitchen table, and at 11 years old, Boo is pretty well-versed in the issues of the day.

He's always been this way - he knew the Presidents when he was two years old - but December 14, 2012 took this passion to a whole new level.

Sandy Hook made the politics personal.

He wrote letters to President Obama, outlining his concerns about gun control and ideas on what to do.

He asked us questions and interviewed family members on their stance on the issue. He was, and still is, genuinely curious.

Deep down, I could tell there was something more. On the outside, he was trying to be grown up, the Congressman he wants to be when he is older. (He studies political commercials on YouTube and has filmed  footage for his own run for office.)

But then at night, there would be the questions.

Did I lock the door leading to the back deck? Could I go and double check the tricky lock on the front door? What about the windows - his room was safe, right, because it was the highest off the ground?

I told him that our job, Daddy's and mine, was to do the very best we could to keep him safe and that included locking our doors. We got out of bed, double-checked them together. He seemed satisfied and soon, the door-checking and the questions stopped.

The political advocacy did not.

For the past two months, on Sundays, my budding politician has been filming with his videocam his version of a Sunday morning talk show. He talks current events, issues in local and national news, complete with Internet clips and him dressed in suit and tie.  He holds court for 30 minutes on the topics of the day - most often gun control.

For 20 minutes or a half hour, he'll go on a tear about gun control - why it's necessary to protect kids like him and why we need to make America safe. His arguments are reasonable, passionate, calm.

They have stopped me in my tracks.

"Mr. President," he asked, on his most recent episode. "How many kids will ask their mothers tonight, 'AM. I. SAFE?'"


Boo would love nothing more than to be the next Kid President with these video segments of his and believe me, it would have been easy to upload them to Facebook and send them on their way around the world.

But.

But for as much as I am addicted to social media, I know that it has a dark side too, that this is a volatile issue.


My boy's words, his depth of caring, his passion, they all haunt me tonight. He cares about this issue, so so much. He is afraid and tonight, when we were talking about the Senate vote today, I was at a loss for words.

Suddenly, I knew what I had to tell him, in the middle of this terrible, sad week.

That he was safe, yes, absolutely. Always. Even if I don't always believe it myself.

"I want you to know something, Boo," I said, as I tucked him into bed. "I may not say it too often, but I am so very proud of you for using your voice to speak up about gun control and for trying to make a difference for other people."

"Okay."

"It matters, baby. You're trying to help people. Don't ever think that doesn't matter."






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2 comments:

Melissa Sarno said...

I love, love, love this post, Melissa. Of course, the fear is real for him and all of us and it hurts my heart to think of it, but I hope he continues to speak out and ask questions. You must be so proud of him. As a side note, my husband works with these kids and, from what you say here, I immediately thought that he would make a FANTASTIC Scholastic Kid Reporter. This program is super cool. http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3752470

Lisa Gradess Weinstein said...

You've got a pretty amazing kid Melissa. Maybe he should run for senate