Aurora, CO - August 5, 2012
Newtown, CT - December 14, 2012
Boston, MA - April 15, 2013
The horrific events of these three most recent dates are seared into our memory. They changed and will change our nation in ways we don’t yet know. But have we examined the impact on our children? As a baby boomer, I grew up with a sense of invincibility, without thinking of death or destruction. I doubt today’s children feel the same.
How do you talk to your children about tragic events such as the mass murder of Aurora, CO movie goers? Or the cold-blooded shooting of young children at a quiet Newtown, CT school? Or bombers who target innocent people out to run a marathon?
What do you say to restore their sense of security? How do you teach them to be aware without scaring them into seclusion? I’ve struggled with these thoughts for days.
I’ve asked co-workers how they talked to their children. Their answers ran the gamut, ranging from “my child doesn’t know and cannot handle this information, so we don’t discuss it.” Another said “my child didn’t want to go to school after the Newtown murders. I had to tell her she’d be okay and then force her to go. I couldn’t let her hide from the realities of life. I was relieved when I didn’t need to pick her up from school early.”
Along with imagining the pain of the parents who will never see their children again, these talks shattered our hearts, too, because innocence and trust does not exist the way it used to. And while we know that we have not seen the last of these tragedies, we hope that our children or families are not among the next targets.