Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's A Mad, Mad World.

Is it just me or is all that's going on in the world overwhelming right now?
Between earthquakes, nuclear disaster, war and civil unrest - there is just a lot to take in.

As a parent, I am conflicted. I could just ignore it all and cocoon my children.
It's not happening on my door step - so it wouldn't be hard to do.
They are still young so it seems really appropriate to keep all of this from them.
We do not watch TV so they have not seen any of the shocking images but still they hear adults talk - so will cocooning really work?

If I do choose to cocoon, we miss out on the opportunity to see the people of the world as neighbors.
We miss a chance to learn about helping those in need.
It's never too early to learn that right?

Then there's the thought that they are affected anyway.
They feel the uncertainty and the fear and are anxious about it.

I can't say for sure the cause but I do know that the eight year old is experiencing some anxiety right now. She isn't able to settle down to sleep easily. She is clingy and needy.
The two year old is also perhaps picking up on the unrest and wants to only be with me.

I remember as a child that some people came to our school and taught us survival techniques.
They told us there could be a nuclear war and we would have to learn how to survive post apocalypse.
They tried to make it fun but I remember how scary and confusing it was.

The class was not offered to our parents so I remember thinking that nuclear bombs must only kill adults and that there were only going to be children left. Is it just my imagination that we were also reading 'Lord Of The Flies' at the time?!

I think what I have decided (well, at least for today) is that it's hard to get this stuff right for children.
A little bit of information goes a long way in a child's mind.

So, I am going to shield them from as much as I possibly can.
We are involved in a project to help the people of Japan. I gave a very simple and very played down explanation of the earthquake. That will be enough for now.

We will avoid TV screens, newspapers and adult conversation as much as we possibly can.
I will let them have their childhood, knowing that the full weight of adulthood will press down on them soon enough.

1 comment:

  1. It's a tough one to be sure - something I also struggle with. I shield Sweetpea from most of the imagery, but share the actual events in a pared down, easy to digest version. I'd rather she hear it from me, than a misinformed classmate in the schoolyard. I'm lucky in that she has a great teacher this year who gently talks about the current events with them.

    But I did wonder recently if I should shield her more, until I heard a blogging mother who I respect talk about how she had shielded her children from most tragic events, so much so that when their brother died suddenly when they were 8 and 9 years old, they were completely and utterly devastated with no coping mechanisms in place to help them understand.

    It's a catch-22. Protect them? Yes, that's our job. But letting them know that terrible things occur in the world is one I won't hold back from sharing, in the best way I can.

    Nicely written, my friend. And such a good conversation for all parents to be having.


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