How to help your kids feel safe in a scary world.
We were reminded, once again, of our mortality and the frailty of human life. I don't know about you, but the mass shooting in Las Vegas shook me to my very core. I look for reasons, for someone to blame. And then, one of my 8 year-old clients decided to have a discussion with me about it. I realized he was trying to figure out this world we live in and was looking to me for wisdom and advice. (expletive deletive!!!)
So, I had to pull myself together and answer his questions with honesty, all the while being reassuring about humanity and life in general. My responses went something like this: "Yes, it was terrible." "We don't really know why." "Sometimes bad things happen." "Right, kind of like crossing the street and car crashes." "But that's not the norm. That's one of the reasons why it's such a big deal when it happens." This is not verbatim - but you get the picture.
It saddened me that at the ripe old age of 8, he was in the process of adding another worry to his list. But, in the end, he seemed satisfied with our conversation and we moved on to one of our usual conversations - which is a better team - the Yankees or the Mets.
We are used to checking for monsters under the bed, kissing and making it better, and fixing what's broken. But the mass shooting in Las Vegas was real; beyond our comprehension...and we have a 24/7 newsreel to remind us.
We, as adults, have a loss of security and are at a loss as to how to make our kids feel safe. Many of us are worried about how to explain these horrors to our kids.
But here's the thing.
The monsters under the bed are just as real to kids as the tragedy in Las Vegas. And just as you check for monsters you know are not there or kiss the boo-boo to make it better, you assure them that you will do your very best to keep them safe- whatever that means and whatever it takes...just like you do when they cross the street or get in the car.
And, you will.
Now, I'd like to hear from you. What are your biggest fears when it comes to your children? How do you handle them?
"Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world,
All things break. And all things can be mended.
Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you." ~ L.R. Knost