Today My Daughter’s World Changed and It Broke My Heart

This morning I was reading the news and  my daughter walked in and asked me why this woman was crying. My first reaction was to say, “It is complicated” and just sweep it under the rug and hide it from her. She is 9 after all. But then my son came downstairs…
And then I remembered that Kent and I have never shied away from talking to our kids about sex, about pornography, about politics, about death.
And then I remembered that it is women’s history month.
And then I remembered what Rachel Held Evans taught me about honoring and remembering those who have been unjustly killed or harmed.
And then I remembered that nothing changes if I don’t teach my children.
And then I remembered that my son and my daughter must hear from me how wrong this is and how tragic.
And then I remembered that I have to teach them that we must stand up for those without power.
And then I remembered that they have to be told over and over and over…

that women are not less than
that women are not the cause of men’s sin
that women are not to be covered up
that women are not to be silenced
that women are not subhuman
that women are made in God‘s image
that women are equal to men
that women should be able to drive
that women should be able to go out alone
that women should be able to talk to men
that women should be able to have an education
that women should not have to live in fear of their husbands
that women should not have to live in fear of their sons
that women should not have to live in fear of their parents
that women should not have to live in fear of their brothers

I told them why this woman was crying. I told them about Fakhra Younus. I told them about acid attacks and honor killings. I told them there were cultures where women don’t get to go to school, or drive, or go out without a male family member, or speak to a man who was not a family member.

My daughter sat silent and motionless and then she looked up at me and said, “Why?” Why women? Why girls? Why would they do this? Afterall, she has been taught that she is equal. She has been taught that she is valued. She has grown up where she can choose her clothes and go to school and someday learn to drive and have a job. But as I looked at her I could see that she realized that there are people in the world who will always look at her and see less than. There are people who if they had their way would clip her wings and cover her beauty and squelch the fire that makes her an amazing reflection of the image of God. It broke my heart.

We had to leave for school. But we will talk about it again, and again and again. Because my son needs to know. Because my daughter needs to know. And so do yours. Or nothing will change.

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