Friday, January 8, 2021

I Want My Kids To See The Scary Stuff


As with millions of Americans, I watched the breaking news coverage of the coup at the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. I sat in horror, shut off my social media (because at times like that, it can be too much), and told my minis Spanish class was done. I told them briefly what was going on, what they were going to see, and turned on the news coverage for them to watch.

After living through 2020 that included a pandemic, civil unrest, unjust actions against people of color, and generally just having their entire lives turned upside down, they didn't get scared. Instead, they watched. The first words were spoken by my 8 year old:

"Ugh, they're not even wearing masks! This is going to be a super spreader...we're never going to be able to see people if they dont' stop doing this!" She may or may not have added a shit in there, but I honestly could care less because she just spoke more intelligently than half of America. 

They didn't have a lot of questions, but they watched for nearly an hour. They continued to check in on the news throughout the evening. When something like this happens, my first instinct is to text friends and family--mostly those who I know will have the same reaction I am. I know many of my friends with children turned their televisions off and didn't want their kids exposed to what was happening. I'm on the other end of that.

I want my children to see this mess of a society we've created. I want them to always remember the horrifying images on our TV. I want them to see the anger, the uncalled for actions of their fellow Americans. I want those images and feelings to be forever etched in their minds, so that someday, if it ever comes to it, THEY KNOW what to do, how to take a stand for what is good. In order to grow and change, you must live and learn. I make sure they do both in ways I know how. Having them see and experience the not-great stuff in life is part of it. Attempting to answer their questions, even when I don't understand it myself, is one of the hardest things in the world as a parent. My goal is to make better people than I, so I answer those questions as best as I can. I watch how they respond to the tough stuff and help them through their feelings and thoughts, without imposing my own opinions on them. 

Nothing about Wednesday was easy, but I'm glad my children saw it. I can only hope that it made an impact on them as it did with so many other people. My children have been living history that will go down in books as things that changed the world. The last year has been FULL of things too difficult to see or hear about, but I make myself so I can teach them that you must stand up to the scary stuff, no matter what it is.