Each generation has had challenging events; the 9/11 attacks in NY; hurricanes Katrina and Rita; world wars, global conflicts, and school shootings. Quite often, these events have seemed far away if they didn’t affect our specific community directly, but the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world and we find ourselves in the same predicament as our global neighbors. Whether children are living in Madrid, Wuhan, New York City or East Stroudsburg, PA, they are seeing images, overhearing adult conversations, listening to the news and paying attention, even though they may not understand completely what’s going on. A good friend of mine calls her kids “those tiny humans” to remind herself that they are a smaller version of the grownup model. They feel anger, sadness, miss their friends and have anxiety; even infants can sense when things are not quite right. It’s important that we find a way to be truth-tellers to these young hearts and minds when talking to them about current events.
Wanting to know the truth doesn’t begin when kids become older— even when they’re young, they ask question after question until they are satisfied with the answers. We can relay the truth in a way that calms their concerns and helps them right their world.
I’m part of the generation that grew up with Mr. Rogers. His reassuring voice, coupled with truth, helped hundreds of thousands of kids get through some rough times like divorce; the assassination of Robert Kennedy; the Challenger disaster; the Atlanta child murders and many other distressing situations. Here’s how he did it:
We’ve been given a great role model in Fred Rogers, so there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Here a few ideas gleaned from him that might help with the hard conversations around this global pandemic.
As the adult, I want you to have hope that you’ll get through this, too. It might be tough but so are you. I want to end with a couple of my favorite quotes. I don’t believe these are some feeble platitudes but rather helpful reminders that storms pass.
“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path. “ ~Anonymous
“Just think of all the times you thought you couldn’t get through it, but you did, The proof? You’re still here,” ~Anonymous (Pinterest)
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