I hadn’t long been a parent when I discovered a quote from Rudolf Dreikurs, an Austrian psychiatrist, who said “Children are keen observers but poor interpreters”.
It stuck with me and as the Big Sister becomes more aware of world events, I’m once again reminded of the quote. Just what does she make of the stories she sees on the news ?
This week we've had numerous conversations about the news.
On Saturday morning, we watched a breakfast news show and Bruce Jenner’s interview was the story de jour.
“Is that a man becoming a woman, mum?”
“Yes darling. Sometimes nature makes mistakes. He has a woman’s brain and a man’s body and it makes him unhappy. He wants to have a woman’s body.”
“Did God make a mistake?”
“No darling. You know how babies grow in mummies’ tummies? Lots of things have to happen when the baby is growing and sometimes things go wrong.”
The conversation finished there and I breathed a sigh of relief that I’d got God and myself off the hook.
Then on Sunday morning, news broke of the earthquake in Nepal. I tried to explain to her the magnitude of the disaster. That it is a poor country that will struggle to provide medial help to the injured and necessities like clean water to the survivors. Footage of the iconic Dharahara Tower flashed on the TV and I explained that 200 people were trapped inside when the tower toppled. She matter-of-factly said that she understood. “It would have fallen over and they would have been squashed.” Good observation, poor interpretation.
I don’t know how to explain the executions of eight persons in Indonesia last night. I don’t know how to tell her that some wrongs are punished by death. I cannot think how to tell my fresh faced, ever optimistic seven year old that not everyone believes in redemption. Not everyone gets a second chance. So I’ll leave the TV and the radio turned off and hope I can shelter her from the harsh realities of life for a little longer.
There will no doubt be more situations like this, where the events of the world are too brutal for me to allow it into our home. Too dark to allow entrance for fear they'll cast shadows over our children as they sleep, laugh and clean their teeth.
how do you talk to your kids about current events?