I Would Have Made It Dad


I Would Have Made It Dad.”

That line has haunted me for three days now. It was among the first things my son said to me after we spoke about Sandy Hook. It is part of what pushed me to write We Are Lucky because we are.

Flip through the pages and sort through the posts here and you’ll find plenty where I talk about being the bodyguard, the knight and the man who plays Secret Service agent. When the things that go bump in the night visit I am the one they ask to go check it out and I do so without question because it is part of being a father.

But fear of failure comes along with that and fear of the bad things that are outside of our control.

We talk to our children about what to do in case of fires, tornadoes and earthquakes because sometimes Mother Nature likes to remind us that she isn’t asleep. When I hear about people who lose their lives or homes because of natural disasters I feel badly, but I understand.

Natural disasters are..natural, at least in concept. We can debate whether man has created or contributed to some of these issues through global warming or building homes too close to the sea, but that is still something I understand.

School Shootings Are Beyond Me

School shootings are beyond me. I shouldn’t have to explain them nor be asked to, nor should anyone.

When I think about the look on my son’s face while he explained how close he sits to a door it hurts in a way I can’t quite explain. It is the kind of remark that would make those who know me smile because he sounds like me.

I am the guy who has the plan for all situations. Some of them are intentionally goofy, ask me how I would beat a gorilla in a fight and I can tell you. Ask me what would happen if I had to take on sharks and alligators and I can answer that too.

So part of me isn’t surprised to hear his answer because I would probably say something similar.

Yet I am infuriated and saddened to hear this because it should never come up in conversation.

Hope Outshines Horror

The thing is that when push comes to shove I firmly and unequivocally believe that hope outshines horror and that the world is filled with far more good than bad.

I recognize how naive this sounds and why some people won’t be able to buy into it. There are lots of reasons why you might not accept it but I think if you start to look at things you can find lots of reasons why you can.

Ultimately I am not here to convince you to believe as I do. All I can do is take care of my side of the street and do my best to raise good kids.

Life is what we make of it and much of that is contingent upon our attitudes about it.

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  1. Sandy Appleyard December 18, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Jack, your last two articles about the shooting is pretty much what I had in mind, but couldn’t put into words because I was too overcome with grief. Both my kids go to the same school and are ages 4 and 6. Up until Friday, I always thought that having both children attend the same school was convenience, now I think of it as putting both my eggs in one basket. I’ve tried to ease my thoughts by praying harder for the safety of my kids each day, but it still doesn’t help much. I think a lot of parents of smaller children have been profoundly affected by this, and will feel that knot at the pit of their stomach now when they load their kids on the bus each morning.

    • Jack December 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      Hi Sandy,

      I understand your concern. Some of these fears are universal and I don’t know a parent who doesn’t have moments of doubt and uncertainty.

      Even though intellectually we know that it is unlikely we will have to face the sort of awful scene we see in Newtown there are those whispers that say maybe.

      A friend and I had a terrible conversation about whether the kids at Columbine were better equipped to deal with this because they were older. It is a horrible thing to discuss and truly ridiculous.

      But when you are trying to make sense of things that make no sense your mind goes all over the place.

  2. Christie tate December 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    I wish we didn’t have to teach our kids about what a gunshot sounds like and what to do if they hear one. God. It’s easy to slide into despair.

    • Jack December 17, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      Hi Christie,

      We are on the same page here. It hurt to have this conversation, but I always go back to the same places:

      Statistics show this is really unlikely and that there is a much greater chance of the kids falling out of a tree or having a bike accident.

      The population of the world isn’t shrinking. Most of us grow up unscathed by these horrific incidents.

      I am not trying to minimize or marginalize how horrible they are, but most of us are lucky and never have to face it first hand.

  3. jana December 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    This is wonderful… I have to wonder how the world would be if everybody just took care of their side of the street and did their best to raise good kids. That’s my goal, too. Great post, Jack.

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