We Can Turn the #BostonMarathon Tragedy into #Triumph

young girl finishing race, arms raised in triumph

Hi Heroes.

I have thoughts.

Similar to most people, my heart is broken and my deepest condolences go out to those who lost life and limb yesterday at the Boston Marathon. The full weight of the horror of those minutes is certainly something I cannot understand because I have not experienced it. But I do know that it was-and is-awful. I’m so sorry.

Again, similar to so many parents, I had conversations with my boys yesterday about the event.

One conversation in particular late last evening has stuck with me. Bothered me even.

I warned all of the boys that the images on TV might be strong. And I told the older ones to be cautious looking on Facebook and Twitter, because I’d already heard that the photos being shared were super graphic. Sure enough, The Mercenary reported later that he’d seen some and they were indeed very detailed.

If I were one of the injured…

Here’s the thing though. If I were one of the people who was hurt yesterday, I’d be even further hurt by the knowledge that millions of images of one of my worst moments were floating around the Internet. Out of my control.

For one thing, that one moment doesn’t define a person. Each one of the individuals who was hurt yesterday is so much more than that injury-great or small. You can’t know them personally by looking at that one moment in their life, any more than you can know any individual just by seeing them in one image.

When I told him that I wouldn’t want my picture out there like that, my son was completely confused. Most likely, this is a generational difference and I am firmly placing myself on the side of the aged. So be it. With the proliferation of cameras everywhere, it’s not shocking that hundreds or even thousands of people possess images of the bombing and immediate aftermath.

That doesn’t mean we need to share them ad nauseum.

My son said that one picture he’d seen already had 2000 comments on it with people expressing their thoughts, feelings, and sympathies. Certainly, we all need a way to express our feelings. We need to each work through our own personal trauma over the event. But do we really need to do it so publicly?

Aren’t we rewarding the bad guys?

This brings me to my second concern. With so much publicity, aren’t we rewarding the evildoer(s) who perpetrated this deed? Bad guys have Internet too, and I’m willing to bet that there are more than a few individuals out there rubbing their hands in glee over all of this.

Even among those who didn’t actually commit the crime, many are celebrating this as a victory. Why give them any more to celebrate?

Please? Take the pictures down.

If you have posted or shared an image of yesterday’s horror that could be traumatizing to a child, stressful for those who were there, or rewarding to an enemy, would you please take it down? I’m not saying to delete them from the record completely. And if you have something that would be relevant for law enforcement, by all means, do the right thing.

But.

Make the pictures private.

Protect the injured. Don’t exploit them.

Then, let’s take this a step further.

As Americans, we’re about triumph, not tragedy. The bad times shape us, but they don’t define us. Instead of posting images of tragedy, how about images of triumph in some way?

If I was the mother of the little boy who was killed yesterday, I’d sure like to know that his too-short life impacted the world in a positive way.

So I am issuing a challenge: share a moment of triumph. Put it in the comments here (I’ll start with my own small win. Can’t wait to see yours.), or on your personal Facebook page. Share it on Twitter (hashtag #Triumph). Or just tell someone you love something good today.

In honor of those who paid such a high price yesterday…it’s the least we can do.

Image courtesy of sigsegv via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Amy LeForge April 16, 2013, 9:17 am

    All right: here’s my first triumph. It’s small in the grand scheme of things… minuscule, even. I went and worked out this morning. I REALLY didn’t want to go, which is pretty much the way I feel every morning when I contemplate exercise. But I went and I did it.

    What’s your triumph?

    Reply
  • Robert Newberry April 16, 2013, 2:32 pm

    Thank you for your posting.

    Following is a posting I made on my Robert Newberry: Raising Successful Children Facebook Page. It has received a very positive response so I am sharing it with you and your readers and hope it is helpful.

    So, a parent asks me, “What do I say to my young children about the Boston tragedy?” Here is my answer.

    The older I get, the clearer it is to me that smarts, talents and abilities are not the key elements of a child building a successful future. After all I have seen, learned and experienced, for me the key element is how that child responds to the tough times in life and if he or she acquires what I describe as a positive orientation to challenge and adversity. Experiences of loss, tragedy and difficulty are to be learned from and overcome, not capitulated to. Easily said, I know. But learning to do so is imperative if a child is to become better or bitter as a result of living through such a life changing event.

    To help your child develop such an outlook, I recommend you do several things:
    1. You need to be a rock. You are the foundation upon which your child is building his or her future. In so many ways you are the lens through which your child views the world.
    2. Your routine is vital. Continue as best you can the regular schedule and tasks of your family’s daily life. Predictability creates security, safety and assurance.
    3. Reframe. I have seen a quote from the well-known Mr. Rogers who shares how his mother brilliantly taught him how to “reframe”, or see a difficult situation positively with courage. She encouraged him when he would see scary things in the news to look for the helpers. “You will always find,” said Mom Rogers, “people who are helping.” Fantastic!
    4. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Yes, you need to be a rock. But you need to know how to fill your own personal cup. For some people this is their faith, dreams and aspirations or key relationships. Learn how to fill your own cup in difficult times.

    I hope this helps!
    Robert Newberry´s last blog post ..Winning Practice #2: Be a goal setter. (Fundamentals cont’d) 2.23

    Reply
    • Amy LeForge April 17, 2013, 12:01 am

      Solid advice, Robert. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply