Sunday, May 10, 2015

What to Tell Your Children About Tragedy

On May 3rd a man who must have been harboring a great deal of pain himself shot and killed four people (including himself) and wounded one. Included in the people he shot was a father, an 11 year old daughter, a single man, and a mother. These people were innocent just enjoying a walk as on a beautiful bridge that goes over the water. How do you possibly explain this to your children? Do you hide it from them so they don't develop anxiety from it?



Fortunately there was a lot we can focus on in this situation that can be inspiring. There is a lot our kids can learn from this situation.

1. There is a lot of pain in the world. That is why it is soooo important to be kind to all people. You never know what you are preventing in an act of kindness. Hurt people, hurt people. Teach your kids to look for little ways to spread kindness.

2. Kids can be super heroes too. The 5 and 7 year old kids who's parents and sister were shot did not crumble and refuse to function. They bravely got off the bridge and helped others too. Teach your child what to do in a crisis, where to go for help, and what to avoid. If you explain it in the context of being a super hero it will be less scary for younger children. Most kids get the idea of good guys and bad guys so teaching how to respond if a bad guy is around can reduce their anxiety.

3. Even though there are bad guys in the world there a lot of good guys. In response to this horrific event thousands of people have donated money, gone to prayer vigils, and offered help to the families. Horrific events often times brings communities together.

4. Life is fragile and we need to remember to appreciate every moment. Life is not about stuff. It's about relationships. Make sure the people in your life are a priority. Make sure they know how much you care about them.

5. Forgive no matter how horrible it was. The dad who died asked his family to forgive the shooter as his last words because he knew not forgiving could only hurt his family. Forgiveness doesn't mean you think what happened was ok. It just means you are not going to hold that anger in your heart and wish bad things on someone.


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