A ring to rally against vi­o­lence and ha­tred

What to do when your kids need answers

Bayview Post - - Kids -

I was in New York last week and while talk­ing to a 10-year-old girl and her mother, the mom told me that her daugh­ter had a night­mare, the night be­fore, that the UN build­ing got blown up by ter­ror­ists.

This is what 10-year-olds are think­ing about.

Is it only 10-year-olds in New York? Not a chance. Thanks to the global vil­lage and the on­line info-ex­plo­sion, we all, even our young ones, know too much about the sor­rows of the world. Too much to feel safe. Which cre­ates an ur­gent ques­tion: How do we talk to kids about this frac­tured and fear-in­duc­ing world?

The first an­swer to that ques­tion is about what not to do. Many of us, these days, feel de­spair and fear. Not so great for us as adults. But imag­ine the turbo-charged ef­fect of that mind­set on our kids. We’re formed. Our psy­ches were set in a time of greater per­ceived global har­mony and safety. Not so our chil­dren. And we hold re­spon­si­bil­ity for this in our hands — which means we have to get cre­ative about how to talk to them about those po­lit­i­cal and global con­flict mat­ters that up­set us.

If we give in to (and thus teach our chil­dren) pas­siv­ity, we do them great harm. Pas­siv­ity is a prob­lem for both us and by ex­ten­sion our kids. Pas­siv­ity breeds and mod­els de­spair and paral­y­sis in the face of events we can­not ap­par­ently con­trol or change. Pas­siv­ity is dead­en­ing. Pas­siv­ity fu­els anxiety and fear.

What we can do is help our kids to find a way to be in­stru­men­tal in the world, be­cause do­ing some­thing is al­ways bet­ter than feel­ing pow­er­less. Start with con­ver­sa­tions about the other. Let’s get some home­work go­ing. Prob­a­bly more in­ter­est­ing than most home­work. Maybe kids might want to do a re­search project on these peo­ple who are other and whom we fear. They will surely dis­cover that the vast ma­jor­ity of those who are other are no threat to any­one.

At which point the con­ver­sa­tion around your din­ner ta­ble can turn to: Do we want to be an ally to those peo­ple? What would be good about that? How might we do it? Can we think of Par­ent­ing colum­nist Joanne Kates is an expert ed­u­ca­tor in the ar­eas of con­flict me­di­a­tion, self-es­teem and anti-bul­ly­ing, and she is the di­rec­tor of Camp Arowhon in Al­go­nquin Park.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.