This morning I woke up, checked my phone, sipped my morning coffee and cried.
As I sat and cried silently, my children played happily – my emotions torn in how we can live with such pure innocence and have it turn into such chaos. For some, their laughter and happiness, some how ends up distorted into erratic thoughts and hate fueled with so much angst against the world. Sometimes this ends in meaningless violence and lives are stolen in such horrific and brutal ways.
So I cried when I saw the news, I cried and I let my kids see me cry too – not old enough to understand, but old enough to know something isn’t right.
As a mother, your first initial instinct is to protect them from this, to hide the pain and sadness in the world, shelter them from the evil and protect their innocence at all cost.
BUT I am questioning that response and whether it’s always the right one – maybe we have had it wrong all along. It seems like sheltering our kids too much only creates a world ignorant to what is happening around them. They need to know that as humans, emotional responses are normal and deserve age appropriate explanations for our reactions and what is happening in the world.
When we turn a blind eye for the sake of ourselves and our children, we create a society blanketed in denial.
We need to embrace emotions and be open with feelings, teaching our children that these are normal responses – its OK to cry when something bad happens, our tears should be seen, our pain should be felt and our voices should be heard.
Sure, we are not all the same – not everyone cries as much as others and some of us are not as easily read – both perfectly fine.
But are we sometimes subconsciously teaching our children to put up walls and suppress feelings, by downplaying reactions and sheltering them on a consistent basis from everything that is happening?
I DON’T want to live in a world where NO ONE cares, where we become consumed in only our own lives and feelings that we become numb to others and what is going on around us.
We need to be encouraging our children to become compassionate, developing the ability to have and show empathy. These are the greatest attributes a human can have and are in no way a deficit or something to be ashamed of – Without these, you cannot fully grasp or learn how to show respect, practice gratitude, appreciate life or live it to the fullest.
How will we ever begin to right the wrongs the human race has so naively made so far in this world or make a positive change in our society, if we aren’t starting with the younger generation and teaching them the basics?
We need to allow for our stability to be rocked from time to time, otherwise we become complacent.
I am not saying scare your children, to horrify them and vilify others…
No, we don’t want them to become anxious, but we need them to be vigilant.
Children need to learn to become intuitive, to trust what they are feeling, question what doesn’t seem right, learn to make calculated risk assessments in situations that require it and know right from wrong.
If we continue to ALWAYS shelter our children to protect their innocence, then they become naïve in situations that could put them at risk of danger.
We need our kids to see good in the world but know when something isn’t right and act on it.
To run, to say no, to get help and protect themselves and those around them.
They need to know that others pain is as real as their own and to never intentionally cause harm; online, offline, physically, mentally or emotionally.
We want them to know that they’re lucky to eat the meal they are given each night because there are children just like them, who won’t eat for days. That they are lucky to drink clean water and that they are not living in poverty.
That all the “things” they want are just that – they are luxuries, not necessities.
They need to know how privileged they are that they get to go to bed safe each night, with a roof over their head, in home where they are loved and cared for. That their health and life should not be taken for granted.
Our kids need to understand that we live in a country so great, that they can play safely in their yard and that we don’t have war on our door step like so many others. That they get to go to school and learn each day, but for some children, that’s their only dream.
They need to know that they are lucky enough to live somewhere that has gun control, because there are countries yet to do so, and innocent lives are lost each day because of it.
We need to arm ourselves in knowledge, not weapons. We need to lead one another with our eyes, mind and heart wide open, not wrapped in a blind fold.
You see, there are lines, all kinds of lines, blurry and squiggly – ones we need to cross, ones we need to question and ones we need to get a rubber and erase completely.
Let’s get rid of the line that tell us to hide “it all” from our kids and draw a new line that says, empower our kids through it.
Teach them to appreciate life, live it to the fullest extent, take nothing for granted and be the POSITIVE in the world it so very much needs
Do you agree, should we be exposing our kids more at an age appropriate level and what age do you think that is? Comment below.