The other day I opened my phone to check the news. Five cops had been killed. This follows shooting after shooting after shooting of unarmed black men by cops. This follows the Orlando nightclub shooting. And just this week, another mass nightclub shooting. Add in the Nice terrorist attack. And the recent shooter in a Munich mall. Have I forgotten any? Yes. Yes, I have because there are just too many these days to keep them straight. I honestly dread pulling up the world events on my phone or turning on the TV because it just feels like a guarantee that something tragic is bound to have occurred.
You see all kinds of articles about how to talk to your kids about tragedies. I haven’t taken any of their advice. Not because it’s not good advice, but because I haven’t talked about any of these tragic events with them, period. I’ve started refusing to turn on anything but Disney Junior. (I just hear how “boring” the adult shows are anyway.) And I suffer in silent heartbreak when I read anything on my phone so as to not involve my kids in the sorrow of the world.
I don’t know how long I can protect them from events like terrorist attacks and mass shootings. I don’t know how long it’ll be before my 5-year-old becomes aware of the horrific things that happen in the world. I look at them, with their biggest problems being the fact that their sibling touched their toy, and it makes me just want to lock my doors and never leave the house. To protect them from evil and darkness out there. I only hope that I’m showing them enough love to be able to handle it. Enough light to see them through. They see the good in everyone; I’m trying to remember that the good outweighs the bad too. I’m trying to see beyond the darkness, even if it feels like all the lights are shutting off.
How old were your kids when you had to start answering questions about tragic world events? Can I just keep the TV off until they’re out of elementary school? —Erin