This summer has been a wonderful whirlwind of summer activities and a slower pace. Reduced schedules, lazy weekends, and summer BBQ’s are what we live for. In the midst of this, we are inundated with examples of public disagreement, violence, and accusations of inequality.
As I hear more and more about violence in the community, racially charged violence, and violence against police, I feel a sense of discomfort. Where these issues once strengthened our community, they now seem to divide us in our mourning. We all have our opinions regarding right/wrong, good/bad. We all take a side when faced with polarizing topics, especially when the media fuels this emotional divide.
We are in the midst of a very heated presidential race where grown-ups are behaving like unruly children, publicly, and, in some cases, taking no responsibility for inappropriate behavior. No matter where our opinions lie, we have a responsibility to our children to help them make sense of behavior that just does not make sense. We have a responsibility to our children to help them to wrap their minds around some of this upsetting information, such as injustice, violence, and racism, as well as equality and accountability.
Our society has injustice. It’s a part of life. Let’s face it-it happens on the playground, it happens in the classroom, it happens in the community. There is no way to prevent exposure to injustice; however, we can minimize its negative impact and actually empower our children. The most effective way to help kids to feel safe is to limit their exposure to the media. The media can distort the truth by embellishing and flooding our senses. Kids may overhear their parents talking about heated topics. If your kids are asking questions, give them the facts and just the facts. They need their parents to comfort them, as well as to be honest with them. Kids feel more unsettled when they sense they are being lied to. As humans, we all have our own opinions; however, when it comes to our kids, it’s important to talk about the way things are and the way things should be. Yes there is injustice; however, retaliation with violence is never OK. Yes presidential candidates do inappropriate things; however, personal responsibility is essential. It is important to describe how grown-ups are responding to these issues in appropriate ways. Reinforce hope in your kids, reminding them of ways in which our community has initiated safety protocols. Role model personal accountability. If you are wrong, own it. Raising healthy, confident, and accountable children can only help to create a strong sense of self as well as a strong sense of community.
Our hearts go out to our families whose sense of safety has been disrupted by recent local and national events. We support equality. We support our local first responders. We support personal accountability.