How To Talk To Our Kids About What Happened in #Orlando
Ever since I received the very first social media alert about the devastating situation that recently took place in Orlando, Florida I have been heartbroken.
Heartbroken for the many innocent people who were just enjoying their evening living life and dancing the night away when their lives were brutally ended.
Heartbroken for the many families whose lives going forward will never be the same because of the loved ones that they lost or were injured.
Heartbroken that I have to live in a world where you have to be cautious, untrusting and fearful practically everywhere that you go.
Heartbroken that I am riddled with anxiety each and every time my kids are away from me and not protected by what I like to call our “family bubble”.
Heartbroken that I can never truly promise my kids that I will keep them safe, because of the many crazy, sick, and horrible people in that live alongside of us in this world.
Much like other major, devastating events in our lives, at first I wasn’t sure how I was going to talk to my kids, especially my 12 year old son, about what just took place in Orlando, but I knew that I needed to.
I knew that I needed to make this an open discussion as well as a time to ensure that my children understood just how important it is to preach and practice love and not any bit of hate all throughout their lives.
I knew that I needed to make sure that they would never pre judge someone and that they would always be open and accepting of other people’s lifestyles, races, religions and gender choices.
I knew that I needed to make sure that they listened, understood and took heed to the wise word of Mr. Fred Rogers “…to always look for the helpers, because if you look for the helpers you’ll know that there’s hope.”I want my kids to not just look for the helpers, but I want them to be a helper to anyone in this world that may need it, because that is the only way that we can work toward making this world a better place.
So even though I am not 100% certain as to how to have these tough conversations with my kids, without completely frightening them, I talked to them open and honestly about the horrific events that unfolded in a place where people were supposed to be able to dance, love and live.
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- I started by first asking my son what he already knew about the situation (he has a smart phone and is very internet savvy).
- Once I got a feel for what he heard/ already knew, I confirmed that the shootings he heard about did in fact occur (as I like to be honest with my kids, because I want them to be honest with me as well).
- We discussed differences in people and families and how we should always be accepting of everyone, no matter who they choose to befriend, love, or marry.
- We talked about safety and making sure that we are all taking the proper precautions and being safe, cautious and aware (to the best of our ability).
- We discussed the word hate and how it has absolutely no place in this world. People can not grow and prosper if they have hate in their heart. Hate creates problems, instead of solving them.
- I always make sure to talk with my kids about love and acceptance.
I can speak on this topic from a place of personal experience as I grew up in a home where one parent was black and one parent was white. I grew up in that happy home during a time when other people in the world weren’t so happy with that choice that my parents made to love, marry and create a family with a person of another race. I grew up in a home where my own grandmother said that she didn’t want to get to know me because she hated the fact that my mother was black. I grew up in a home where people called the house and left voice mails saying that they would throw molotov cocktails through our front window if my parents didn’t move. I grew up in a home where my parents, despite all of the hatred around them, made sure that I lived the happiest life that they could possibly provide for me through love and support.
I tell you all of this to say that I am still not sure exactly how to talk to our kids about what happened in #Orlando, but I do know that it is the perfect time to ensure that our kids are reminded to love, accept and be kind to each and every person that they encounter in life.
Even though life may be uncertain, we can teach our kids to be certain about the love and kindness that they exude each day.