How to Talk to Our Kids about The Las Vegas Shooting
Good vs. Evil
This is a theme that seems to be part of our collective unconscious from a very early age. As children, it gets played out through imaginary play, and continues to emerge in stories and movies from Disney to James Bond.
However, when good vs. evil occurs in real life, as in a very large mass shooting, it puts us all into a state of shock and sadness. It creates a lot of anxiety and fear. There will always be the two opposing energies of good vs. evil but how can we make a positive difference?
How can we help our children feel secure after a tragedy?
- Find out what your child has learned, how they’ve interpreted it, and help correct any misconceptions
- Have discussions appropriate to their age and stage of development – use facts and don’t share more than is needed depending on each child’s age
- Don’t leave the TV on, as the media coverage can be very traumatizing and watching the images over and over again heightens anxiety
- Be aware that after a tragedy, it’s important to spend time together as a family to give everyone in the family a feeling of security and a solid foundation
- Continue with regular routines. It’s important not to feed the anxiety, by avoiding leaving the house or any other avoidance behaviours
Remind your child that although the memories and images of this most recent shooting are fresh in our mind, they are still rare occurrences and the chances of one happening in your own community are still very rare.
How to Cope and Feel Empowered?
To feel empowered, we need to find ways to put more love in the world.
As Martin Luther King said:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
If we can find ways to take action by showing love to the mourning families of the Las Vegas victims, or show love for people in our own communities who are suffering, it will make a difference.
Sometimes, it may feel as though there is so much suffering that we can’t make a difference, but we can. Just by impacting one life, we have no idea how far that impact will reach.
Have you heard of this story about the boy and the starfish?
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)
This is a story that we can share with our kids and teens, and ask them how they think they can make a difference.
After the shooting in Paris, do you remember the touching footage of the father who explained to his son that we fight guns with flowers?
We can all find more ways to put more love and joy into the world. At a recent PAC meeting at my son’s school, the chair of the PAC asked that we all contribute through time, treasure or talents. I loved this idea. We can all find a way through one of these three offerings to make a difference in the world.
Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to you and your families and for everything for which we feel thankful.
PS. Registration is now open for my self-empowerment groups. Please see the flyer below for more information and to register please click here and go to “upcoming groups/events”.
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