The Boy and the Pine Forest - One day, his parents drove him several hours outside of the city and the place that he knew as home. They passed by meadows, farms and forests on the way t...
Friday, January 22, 2010
My 11-year-old daughter lives a plane ride away. She visited me over the Christmas holidays and we had an amazing time. During her visit, there was an attempted terrorist attack on an airplane that was flying into Detroit. It was extremely difficult attempting to explain how the world had changed in just a few days.
We watched a bit of the news about the event and I tried to explain just what had happened. I tried to explain how carry-on luggage rules had changed because of what this man had done. I tried to explain how her plane was safe because it was just a short plane ride and terrorists normally target larger planes (probably not the best explanation in the world, but I didn’t really know what else to say at the time).
So the question I have is…What should I have said to her?
And it doesn’t stop there. How do you explain the earthquake in Haiti? I mean, you can explain the science of earthquakes and explain that many people but how can you adequately explain the devastation and horror and death? Maybe the question is: should you?
One of the responsibilities of being a parent, especially in a world where EVERYTHING is at a child’s fingertips, is attempting to put all things into a certain frame of reference so that they understand. The real difficulty, I think, is trying to find a happy medium between scaring the crap out of them and making them immune to the world around them.
How do you explain a crazy person who shoots up a military base in Texas? How do you explain the war in Afghanistan? How do you explain how bad the economy is and how people are losing their jobs on a daily basis? How do you explain the situation with NBC, Jay Leno, and Conan O’Brien?
Okay…scratch that last one.
Seriously, though…what do you do to explain the bad things that go on in the world to your children?