Tragedies chip away at childhood.
Yesterday I kept reading stories of children hearing about the Newtown tragedy incident from other children or teachers at school. These posts are from parents that wanted to shield their young children from this heartache.
I know several parents posted, the day that the tragedy occurred, that they would not tell their kids when they came home from school. They were choosing to shield their kids and that they were too young to know about what happened.
I closed my eyes and I said a prayer and I prayed that it was possible and I sincerely hoped it worked.
I am the mother of twin, sweetest of sweet, boys that are thirteen. Every mistake I make in parenting I have the displeasure of making twofold as they are our oldests.
I have learned some things, doubly. I want to share with you my experience.
If your children are in school, they will find out what happens in the world when something as horrific as Sandy Hook happens. Unless you live off of the grid and do not socialize with others it will be nearly impossible to keep them from finding out about something of this magnitude.
This is one of those parenting wisdoms you gain through your oldest child. Anyone who says differently has not turned up the radio in the car when it is filled with ten year-olds and also turned up their own ears to the chatter behind them.
I have teased endlessly about having “the talk” with my boys at a chicken joint drive through, because it was the right time.
I didn’t wait. I didn’t tell them about the birds and the bees before they were told at school by peers. I waited until they started piecing things together. They began piecing when they began asking me how they got the dad’s “Labrador” in the mom “Poodle” so that the puppies came out as “Labradoodles?”
There. That was it. The moment. I didn’t wait until I pulled them into a room to sit on the couch to talk or when my husband was home, (although it would have been nice to have someone beside me to witness the barrage of ri-DONK-U-lous questions I endured from “Aren’t you glad you only had to do that twice to get three kids?” to “So that is how his Latina mom had a white baby?”
I try to not make a big deal about the things that aren’t big deals.
I really try and tell my kids when something of tremendous magnitude happens and I make a point to say,
“You are going to hear about something. I want to make sure you understand what happened, the best way we can understand somethings that don’t really make sense. I want to make sure that when you hear about this I can answer your questions. Lets talk about this now so when you are at school you don’t get upset hearing about it from other kids who may not know all the facts. I want you to have the right information, from an adult. It is ok to be upset about this because it is very sad and senseless. I am sad I have to tell you but you should know from us.”
“I love you so, so much. You know that right? You know what happened in Newtown makes you realize how much you love people and how connected the world is. You know you are safe here and we have talked about all the things the teachers and you know to do if ever this were to happen. Right? You also know that chances are that it will never happen again but we talk about what to do because it makes us feel better and empowers us. If I get worried about something and I cannot stop worrying I make my mind think about what to do if my fear actually did happened. I make a plan, like your school has done with your drills, and then I feel better. I have been alive for 40 years and something like this has never happened to children in an elementary school and so chances are it will never happen again so let’s remember to have a good day.”
- There is a reason for the drills at school and they should take them seriously.
- Kids talk on the playground and on the bus and there is no way for teachers to control a conversation in the bathroom but you can control your end of conversations with a friend.
- There is far more good in the world than bad and hate just brings more hate.
- We cannot control everything but we can use our minds to try and get the best outcome when something bad does happen.
- Be understanding of people. You never know what pain they may have endured from losing a child or a parent from something like this.
- Love. Love your family and friends and even your teachers because this horrible day made us realize that yes one person can ruin dozens of lives but one person can also save dozens of lives.
- Friday there were more people saving other people than hurting people.
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Marty Coleman, The Napkin Dad says
You know this already because I have told it to you before but I want to say it again. You really are a great addition to my world and to the world of passionate communicators. I am happy I found you.
Nicely done, Abbey.
Outlaw mama says
This brought me great comfort. Thank you.