I'm having a really hard time comprehending what happened. I'm struggling with it because I have children. These beautiful children in this picture are the same ages as my son and youngest daughter. I have yet to explain to them what happened and I know I need to do so soon as it will most likely be discussed in their school. I am extremely thankful that we had a snow day today so I have more time to think on how to approach this. Although I have been out teaching for most of the day so I have to figure out a way to ease into this conversation.
How do I explain this to them when I still cannot understand it myself?
A good friend is a parent educator. She has posted some brief advice on her Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/ProactiveParentingTips. Another good friend shared this link: http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/blog/no-ordinary-monday
I am trying my best to keep a normal routine and presence at home. I feel good that I am doing that for my children, but yet I just want to break from that and hug them non-stop. Which of course will make them wonder and ask why I'm doing that. I keep thinking... how would I react and respond to hearing of a shooting at one of the schools my children attend? I cannot imagine the level of panic, desperation, anguish, fear and grief that these families have gone and are still going through. I cannot imagine both the levels of joy and guilt that the families of the children who were not physically injured must also be going through. I write physically injured as the emotional and mental injuries are also most likely more than I can bear to imagine at this point and will be ongoing. How can we return so quickly to our holiday celebrations when there is so much sadness surrounding us?
Since I started this post I have received a reassuring email from our school principal. They will not be holding classroom discussions about this. The children will be able to discuss the issue one on one with school staff as questions arise, but not in a group setting. This is has really set my mind at ease. Not that this lets me off the hook, because I know my kids will hear about this at school. Not intentionally in supervised classroom discussions, but informally on the playground and in the building. But it gives me more time to be able to pull myself together. Many years ago I had to discuss a tragic accident at a scout meeting - I should never have offered to because I did not realize I was not emotionally prepared to do so. I think my sobbing in front of a group of kids did not help the situation and I don't want to upset my children more than needed. I am thankful for the efforts and actions of the school administrators, teachers and staff at the 3 schools my children attend to be prepared for the questions, actions and nervous parents in this upcoming week of school.
I am not overly religious, but at Mass this past Sunday we learned to be thankful for what we have and not to be looking for the next thing that could have. I have been thinking about this almost non-stop. I am thankful for my children and family, for good friends and the safety will presently enjoy. I am thankful now that my children will be focusing on upcoming holiday celebrations at school and home. I am thankful that I will be visiting with family I do not see often, and that it will be to celebrate a holiday and not a sad or tragic event. I am thankful that we are healthy and safe, and in a way I'm thankful that I can't fully comprehend the level of despair that this senseless tragedy has brought because my inability to fully absorb it is helping me to remain calm and reassuring for my children.