Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How do you explain the unexplainable?

The mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday has impacted us all. It's hard to believe it happened. I wish it was just a nightmare. But it happened. And now we have to figure out how to make sure our kids not only feel safe but are safe.

We don't watch the news on television. My husband and I read about things online. So, the kid hasn't been exposed to any of the images of Sandy Hook. But she knows about it. Even though she is eight and I'd love her to stay innocent forever - I realize that kids hear things and they talk amongst themselves. And they don't always put 1+1 together and get 2 - they often get 15.

So, on Saturday we went out for a quiet lunch together. The kid was miffed when I wouldn't let her play the games on the place mat because we had to talk. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

Me: "Kid, why do you do lock down drills."

Kid: "In case a bad guy breaks in to the school and tries to hurt us."

Me: "Well, that happened yesterday to an elementary school in the USA. Someone, with a mental illness, broke into a school and killed 20 little kids."

Kid: *gasp* "That's horrid!"

We talked a little bit more about the difference between gun laws in the USA and Canada and the difference in the mental health care system. Honestly, it is still too hard to get good mental health care in Canada and too easy to get a gun but she doesn't need to know that. We are fortunate that she has a working knowledge of mental health disease and realizes that just because a person has a mental health disorder does not make that person violent.

It was a pretty short conversation and she went back to playing tic-tac-toe happily enough.

On Sunday night however, she asked some questions which led me to believe she was more than a little worried about bad guys getting into the school. I reassured her and she seemed to be okay.

And, of course, none of the kids were talking about it. They were all focused on the one-day teacher strike that is scheduled for Wednesday. Never thought I'd be so grateful for a labour dispute.

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