Talking To Children About the Florida School Shooting [Sue’s Mommy Blog]
This child of mine like so many others gets dressed, brushes her teeth, eats waffles for breakfast, checks her phone to see the latest pictures of her friends on Snapchat, and it's a normal breakfast and a normal morning like usual. Mom or Dad or both are there in the morning to say, "Good Morning" - it's hectic, we take a moment and hug them, kiss them and tell them to have a great day at school with hopefully, a quick "I love you". In my case, her Step-Dad gets to hug her and say, "have a great day", I get to FaceTime her and give a quick "I love you". It's a normal day for us. Get your back-pack, make sure you have your lunch, and wear your jacket, please. And then the unthinkable happens at a place where my child thinks she's safe, where I think she's safe. How can I explain it to my child when I don't even understand how someone can be so evil, evil enough to go into a school and start shooting?
I sit her down and tell her this happens all too much in this world. I look at her smiling face, thinking nothing is wrong in her world, and nothing is, it's the outside world. Can I wrap her in bubble wrap and keep her in her room? Can I keep my eyes on her every day all day? Can I protect her 24 hours a day? No, is the answer to all these questions. I know I have to tell her about it. I tell her about the sadness, the school, the children that were hurt, and the boy who is now in jail. She tells me how they just had a shooter drill at her school and everything that happens with that. It's scary for a Mom that never had that, maybe we had a fire drill a couple times a year.
I feel our schools in Berkeley Township are safe. There are police at the schools every day there to protect, and I feel comfortable knowing that the schools go through these drills. But what an eye opener for parents. Our kids have seen this over and over again always thinking it can never happen here - in New Jersey - in my school...but, it can.
She just kept asking me why did he do that? Does he not like those kids he shot? Are guns that small? I said these are all great questions, I don't know a lot about guns so I'm not sure and I'm not sure about the reasons why. I said to her it's so important to remember the heroes at this school, the teachers and how they helped their students. It's so important for you to listen to your teachers. They will do their very best to protect you every day. This was her simple, loving response: "my teachers are cool, they'd protect me and my friends".
OK, so she feels safe at this moment, so that helps my heart a little bit. I can't predict or see into the future if she will always be safe, but one little light of hope is that she feels safe at her school right now.
We hugged, she got back on her Pogo-stick and here come the tears down my face as she walks away. God, I'm an emotional wreck.
Ask your child if they feel safe at their school. Maybe you're like me, thinking these shooter drills scare them - what is my daughter or son thinking? How scary for us as parents to hear about? But I'm thinking and praying that schools make them feel safe with these, and that's a great thing for parents to know. I know the school is taking this very seriously and all schools these days take these drills seriously.
I'm thinking to myself how ridiculous, how can a child not feel scared when this drill is happening? Maybe they're not, maybe they're more aware, way more aware than we ever were.
My heart is breaking for these Florida families. Life will never be the same or normal again as they start the mourning. Peace to all.
Sue's Mommy Blog
My daughter is the love of my life - fresh, funny, truly a wonderful little soul that brings me sunshine every day. She's now 12 and her life and what she does is just so funny, it’s too funny not to talk about or write about. It’s all about sharing our adventures with you. Time flies. Thanks for all of your advice through the years, mom's we are never alone! I guess it should be "Sue's Mom Blog" since she's so grown up now, I'm totally laughing out loud at that!