Today’s news is really out of balance. Stories are sensationalized and this impacts our views of the world. If you think it doesn’t affect your children, you should rethink what they are absorbing everyday when news is playing out on the screens.
As a parent or grandparent or God parent or aunt, uncle or special friend to the family, you need to be a safe place for children when the world around them spins out of control. We all learned this lesson when 911 happened. We learned it again in Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey. Today we are witnessing children being dropped over the border wall. Really? Can you imagine if you are shocked, just how children could be processing those images? It is our duty and responsibility to help our children feel secure and much of that security depends on your responses to those events. Above all others, they will turn to you to guide them to a place of feeling protected. Above all others, you will be their safe place. They are watching you to learn how to respond.
The Story: The Girl Who Saw and Heard Too Much
For many years, I lived in Houston and when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Houston opened its doors and hearts to those New Orleans families needing support. At the time, I was a head of school and our licensing office told us we could extend beyond our regulated ratios as we accepted children who were displaced by the storm. Schools across the city took children into classrooms and families were nurtured as much as possible.
One child I accepted into our school was four. Her home was destroyed. Her grandparents had remained in New Orleans. She didn’t know how they were and they couldn’t reach them. Her Daddy was assigned to a task force to survey and work through the trauma occuring around New Orleans. Needing to to deal with the stress of all he was seeing and hearing, he would talk with his wife about all he was coping with. This young child heard much and her world, along with her entire family, was turned upside down.
For weeks, she didn’t speak. For weeks she didn’t participate in class. For weeks, she was replaying the images she had witnessed first-hand. In short, she was traumatized.
It took a good part of the year to help this child process what had happened to her but supported by counselors, her school community and most certainly her family, she began to heal. She was provided a safe place to release through drawings and talking, just what she had experienced.
Helping children return to a place of security begins with you. And me. And those who make up your tribe. And those who are not in your tribe. We all must model good decision-making so our children can be resiliant as they learn to be strong. AND… you must take care of yourself so you can better take care of the children in your life. We will get through these days that challenge our sensibilities.. Let’s make a deal to do it together.
Sending you good thoughts for a positive day.
See you tomorrow!