Speaking Point: Last week, I checked in by phone with my daughter, Elizabeth. There was distress and worry in her voice. Granted, she is a 27 yrs old woman, ready to get married this June, but I’m still her father and she is still my kid. “What’s wrong Liz?” I asked. She said, “Dad, what’s going to happen to us? What’s happening to the world? I cannot get off the Internet and the TV. I’m obsessed with all this! Japan is so scary? What if that happens here?" After much conversation about what "we can control and what we cannot control," my daughter felt more calm. BUT... It brings up a very important topic for all parents to think about.... WHAT DO WE TELL OUR KIDS?
Speaking Point: It is so important for parents today to understand the stress news that information streaming into our children’s consciousness has on their daily lives. Fear and anxiety about national tragedies and unrest; as well as apathy and hopelessness about the human tragedies of fallen heroes fill our daily lives as quickly and readily as the information itself. Parents have a responsibility to help their children to receive this information in smaller doses. Put limits on the amount of Internet and TV news they are going to watch. Smaller doses will be easier to absorb.
Speaking Point: Parents need to spend a small amount of time discussing these news stories each day to provide clarity and perspective. Regular, but short discussions about what’s happening in our world helps parents to gauge how their child is interpreting the news information. It also helps the child gain the perspective of someone they love and trust who has the wisdom to put the information into perspective.
Speaking Point: Parents may also want to keep kids reminded that as life unfolds in the news, their life unfolds right in front of them. Our children need to feel their own moment, live in their own reality and define their own truth. It’s a difficult way to live when you are hanging on the events happening in other parts of the world.
Speaking Point: As for the news streaming into their lives… Parents, teach your child to look with curiosity, be sincere with empathy, feel your own feelings of what you are learning, and take away the life lessons that we learn from these stories and apply them to your life.
Speaking Point: As Barry Bonds goes on trial, as "the Coalition" bombs Libya and as the radiation levels decrease in the drinking water in Japan, we must remind ourselves of the balance necessary between the tragedies in the news that seems to worsen by the day, and The Day Itself that holds the truth of our own life. A delicate balance... yes, but a necessary one as well.