In a piece entitled Stop Wondering Why There Were Young Children At The Aurora Theater, author Lisa Belkin asks “What is it that led so many people to dwell on a question of parenting when so many more sweeping questions loomed?”
I would like to answer Lisa Belkin’s question.
We dwell on the question of parenting when so many more sweeping questions loom because human beings are capable of thinking about more than one thing at a time.
We can grieve for the dead and for those who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
We can send positive thoughts to the survivors and hope that they find peace in this time of tragedy.
We can question our nation’s gun laws.
We can demand change.
And yes, we can also worry about infants and small children who are brought to a midnight showing of a Batman movie, because as parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and teachers, it is our natural instinct to worry about children, and this can include worrying about the wisdom behind exposing small children to a violent film in the wee hours of the morning.
As avid movie goers who want to watch a film undisturbed, we can even find the mental capacity to protest the presence of these children in our theaters simply on the grounds that it is inconsiderate to our fellow patrons.
Like most human beings, I am not a single minded organism. My thoughts need not occupy only one stream of consciousness. I am capable of thinking and feeling and even acting upon more than one thing at a time.
It’s true. As the parent of a three year old and a two month old, and as an elementary school teacher with fifteen years on the job, my thoughts eventually drifted to the presence of children in that theater and the wisdom of parents who made the decision to bring them, not because they might be exposing their children to a potential gunman, but because it’s at minimum a questionable parenting decision. I did not contact these parents directly or wish any more suffering upon them than they have already endured, but as a human being who cares deeply about kids, this is one of the many aspects of this tragedy where my thoughts settled in the wake of the tragedy.
Perhaps the fact that this is a subject that I wrote about earlier this year influenced the direction that my thoughts took. This was not a new issue for me.
So do me a favor, Lisa Belkin. Don’t tell me what I should and should not wonder about, because I am perfectly capable of wondering about many, many things at the same time, including why you might think otherwise.