How I Talked To My Son About Paris.

Thanks so much for the comments yesterday; it was nice to know that I’m not alone in struggling with how to talk about current events.

That said, Owen and I did have a conversation yesterday morning about Paris. I asked if he wanted to talk about what happened there, and he looked up sort of surprised, and said yes, then asked what happened.

I explained as neutrally as I could that what happened there was kind of like the marathon bombings, except that the bombs were at a soccer game and that men with guns hurt people at a concert. I told him that a lot of people were hurt and some people died.

He asked how many, so I told him 300 hurt and more than 100 died.

And then I quoted my favorite Mister Rogers quote, the one that always gives me comfort whenever I feel disenchanted with humanity. I told him that, just like the marathon, there were helpers there, too. People helping other people find a safe place, even when they were hurt. The French police and ambulance workers, who came in to help.

And maybe firemen, too, he said. And mom, the people who were hurt? And helped other people, and got out and went to the hospital? They are super strong.

Yes, they are, kiddo.

I love that he said that.

I hate having to explain this kind of stuff to him. I hate that it happens. I flinch when I hear people like our very own governor say things like we’re not interested in helping people flee all the violence because they might have ties to terrorists.

I feel so idealistic with my rose colored glasses and hippie music and my fervent hopes for a more peaceful world; I know real life doesn’t work that way.

I still hope for it anyway.

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2 Responses to How I Talked To My Son About Paris.

  1. Deborah says:

    Sounds like you did a good job. I’m always a chicken about that stuff.

    Owen is too old, of course, but my kids have gotten super into watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. (J used to complain when C wanted to watch, because it’s really for preschoolers, but now we’re all into it). There’s a recent episode where there’s a storm and trees fall and stuff, and when they go to clean up, Grandpere Tiger says “my mother always told me to look for the helpers.” I got chills!

  2. noemi says:

    I appreciated reading this, and your last post, because I need to start thinking about these things. My daughter is only five and she doesn’t hear about things yet. We don’t watch the news and luckily she hasn’t brought anything like home from aftercare yet (where some of the kids are older), so I just haven’t had to talk about the really big, horrible tragedies with her yet. It’s nice to dip my feet in slowly with posts like these. Thank you for sharing.

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