We live in a world now where news travels instantly and sometimes even before events are confirmed. While it can be helpful to have this information available, most of the time it feels overwhelming. I remember when the attacks on the world trade center happened, and the teachers had turned on the TV’s to the local news, which we all knew as students was a big deal if a teacher was interrupting a high school lesson. And there it was, one of the planes flying straight into the tower. It truly looked like an action movie, and I didn’t even understand the impact of what had just happened. Being that I was a teenager at the time, I was able to somewhat process what was going on, but how do we explain these types of tragedies to younger kids?
I rarely have the news on when my kids are around, and try to keep my radio listening to Kidzbop and Disney, but sheltering them from tragic news is proving harder as they get older, more curious, and aware of their surroundings. Sometimes my husband and I will be having a conversation about an event or tragedy that’s occurring and my son will pickup on it and ask us what we are talking about. Most of the time we try to change the conversation to something else, seeing that we forgot there are other ears in the room. But I know this isn’t something we can always do or should do for that matter.
After the horrific attack in Las Vegas, I remember watching on the Today show about explaining tragedies to kids of different age groups. There was one little girl around 7 years old, and she said that every person is born with good and evil inside of them, but it’s up to them to choose to be good or evil. I though this was an appropriate way to explain why certain people do bad things or choose to harm innocent people. For me and my family this helped with explaining why certain tragedies occur without going into the details of the events. Each family and situation is different, and it’s not something we want to have to explain to our kids, but sometimes it’s inevitable. We can all hope for change and do our part to spread good and kindness into the world a little bit each day.