We Must Shelter
To Shelter: take refuge, take pause.
Yet another horrific tragedy.
"Orlando" now takes on new meaning alongside of "San Bernardino," "Sandy Hook," and so many other tragedies that do not diminish in importance because they aren't specifically named here.
WE MUST SHELTER...our children.
WE MUST SHELTER ourselves.
That isn't to say that we shouldn't be shouting to the rooftops (or better, to our officials in Washington DC) that this kind of access to weapons-of-mass-destruction MUST STOP. No matter your political views, your rights-to-bear-arms views, there is no reason to allow purchase of assault rifles in this country.
So, we must first and foremost, shelter our children.
Turn off the radio. Turn off the TV.
Children under the age of 9 should have ZERO exposure to this type of tragedy.
They'll learn about the world soon enough.
Meanwhile, they do not have the ability to understand:
This happened. It's over. It isn't happening as many times as you see it on TV.
This happened somewhere else. It didn't happen here. (This time.)
Adult reactions and conversations regarding the event.
Young children must be sheltered from these events as they do not have the brain power or emotional capacity to digest and process it. (Hardly, do we...)
Older children may have limited exposure to the event. Ideally, YOU make them aware of it. "Something really bad happened in Orlando and you may be hearing about it from your friends. Do you want to know more?" Some kids will choose not to. Honor that.
Some kids, like Rebecca's 12 yo son, will be outraged, "Why do they do that...it is so mean! It's awful!" Yes, it is awful and it is mean. Acknowledge their feelings...and be sensitive to just how much more they want to know and discuss...and resist feeling like you "should" explain further.
Now might be a good time to begin to sort out some bigger life questions, depending on the interest and sensitivity of your child:
Why do people do that?
How could this happen?
What if it happens here?
However your conversation goes with your younger or older child, it is imperative that:
FIRST you reassure them that you are doing all that you can to make sure that they are safe.
SECOND, in the words of Mr. Rogers, "Look for the helpers." There are always people helping.
There are always 1,000 kind deeds happening for every "mean and awful" event. Tell your kids about those.
SHELTER them from the other.
And do yourself a favor, too... SHELTER yourself.
Take refuge in some music, a good book, or a beautiful painting.
You don't have to hear the story 1,000 times, it doesn't mean you aren't honoring the victims any less.
And do we dare hope that maybe THIS will be the event that spurs action to eliminate these guns - forever?
Blessings on you and yours.
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