Last night my 4-year-old slept in bed with me. Some of the children that died yesterday in Newtown were only a year older than her. I can't even imagine. The tween had a friend spend the night and the two of them slept on the floor in the living room. The fell asleep to the tunes of High School Musical 2, completely unaware of the violence that had occurred earlier in the day. I met them at the bus stop and was surprised that they knew nothing, though grateful. I decided not to tell them, yet. Obviously they will find out, but after I had spent the day crying I decided to leave the innocence in place a little while longer.
I remember when the Tween started Kindergarten and she came home and told me how they had to turn off all the lights in the classroom and go hide in the corner. I asked her why and she replied, "in case a person with a gun comes and tries to kill us." I was appalled. When I was in school, we worried about our grades and sometimes bullies. The only drills we had were fire drills and earthquake drills. Now our schools have lockdown drills in case a person with a gun comes and the scary truth is, it happens more often than it should. In fact, it shouldn't happen at all. Children should wake up in the mornings in a house full of love and go to school with a full belly and be ready to learn in a safe environment, but that doesn't happen as often as it should.
Our world is broken. We are broken. We are broken people living in a broken world and out of our brokenness, we continue to break the most vulnerable among us. We need to fix it.
Unfortunately, we need this information, so here are a variety of resources on how to talk to children about violence. I share these resources with you now as long as you join me in making this promise: we will work together to help create a world where we need these resources far more less than we need them now.
Federal Occupational Health: Helping children cope with school violence
Education.com: Helping children cope with violence
Newtown, Old Story: This actually has a really good roundup of links so check it out