This is the world my kids are growing up in.  The world I am raising them in.  A world I will have to explain and analyze and understand myself.

Even if I don’t.

I am deeply saddened by the natural catastrophe in Japan.  Angry that it had to happen, frustrated that enough can not be done fast enough, and impressed with the resolve the country has to make the best of an impossibly horrible disaster.

It is not lost on me that this will not be the last disaster ever to strike the world…  and the next would might even hit in our own backyard.

I watch the coverage and I let me children see some of it.  Though I worry about nightmares and confusion, I want them to know that life is not all Oreos and cartoons.  I want them to learn sympathy, empathy, and that there is a whole world out there dealing with unpleasant things.  I want them to ask questions and more questions.  Age appropriate, of course, but still lots of questions.  Because with questions come knowledge and the more they know, the more they can internalize and respect situations as they grow.

And I want to be able to explain it as best I can.  Without instilling fear, but still breeding a desire to help and pray.

I am also going to have to explain a completely baffling culture that elevates celebrities.  Especially an unstable, self – absorbed, deeply disturbed  man who has hijacked the media with his fanatical antics and hysterical insanity.

I’ll have to explain Charlie Sheen to my kids one day.  Or someone like him.  And why our culture even gives him airtime.  More airtime than most news stories.   And I don’t know why, after airing his dirty laundry, jumping on a building with a machete, and filing a lawsuit that is clearly in the best interest of lining his pockets, he has a tour where tickets sold out on a matter of hours.  All so people could go watch him spout his opinion?

It is craziness to me.

But I am going to have to explain it one day.  How the freedom of choice in our country leads some to choose paths that we may not always agree with. And despite some natural instincts, it is not our place to judge, only to try and be better than we think we can.  And truly leave a legacy of self – respect, family values, and a healthy belief in learning from other’s mistakes.

As a mom these two stories have little similarities in content, but mirror each other on the complexity of explanation to my children.  They bring out the absolute best things about humanity and its ability to cope and adjust but also the worst parts of a culture that can sometimes thrive on mockery and vanity.

There are always going to be stories like this.  The heart – breaking, the inspirational, and the unbelievable.  Stories that explain little, but require much explanation.  And as a mom, I am going to have to have some answers.  As a mom, I am going to have to have some insight.  As a mom, I am going to have to offer some comfort, some knowledge, and a clear conclusion to my reasonings.

It is my job description, after all.  Moms guide children to understand, don’t they?  Even if they don’t understand themselves?

This is the world we live in.  This is the world I have to raise them in.

A world that has to have room for Japan, Charlie Sheen, and a mom.