We made the difficult decision to share the news of Friday's school shooting with *A* this morning. It was a decision I am still struggling with, but ultimately I didn't want her to go to school and hear about the event from someone else, namely peers. Being in a mixed-age classroom, we figured many of the students' parents had probably already shared something about the events with their children (especially the 9 year olds), and we wanted to be able to control how she learned of the event and how much she learned of it.
She was deeply moved as we all have been. She raised beautiful, profound questions and wanted details of how he got in the school and whether the school was put on lock-down. She cried for the young lives lost, saying it's so sad because they don't get to live a long life. She wondered if teachers died and how scared they all were.
When you tell your child about such an event, you really have no idea how they will react. I was amazed and blown away by my wise 7 (almost 8) year old. She was anxious to go to school and I am anxious to have her home. We received a beautiful note from her teacher saying she wasn't planning on talking to the children about the event as a group, but individually she would address any concerns a child might come to her with. I am relieved by this, but I hope the children haven't been talking about it too much amongst themselves. However, then I think about how they need to talk to each other just as much as we need to talk with our adult friends. I pray that the information shared has helped to reassure her and calm her rather than provided more anxious feelings.
We do not plan to share this event with (H). I feel he is still too young and we were fairly certain his Kindergarten class would not be discussing it. His teacher assured me no one had mentioned it and she hoped to shield the kids from it as much as possible. It feels weird to shelter him from this when the rest of us know, *A* knows he's too young and she's talked about not wanting to share the information with the younger kids in her class because she doesn't want them to find out. I've read a few great articles on how to talk to children about traumatic events and I know that routine and structure help so tonight we'll go about our normal routine. We'll make dinner and finish decorating the tree (finally), we'll take baths and lay out the clothes for tomorrow, we'll read books and say our prayers. And we'll remember that every day, every single day, is a gift.
Also, this is a great article in response to the God in schools crap. We told *A* to pray everytime she became sad or worried about the event, to just say a quick prayer to God. So God is there in those schools whether the government lets him in or not. The government really has nothing to do with it, never has and still doesn't.