Talking to your kids about a school shooting. This shouldn’t be a concept, but the news of another school shooting is again taking America by storm. This time in Parkland, Florida. Next time somewhere else, hopefully not close to home. I cannot imagine the incredible pain the parents are going through losing a child to another senseless killing, an act outside of their control. I barely know how to respond to questions from my own kids, but we know that talking to your kids is a necessary evil.
Social media during a school shooting is as active as ever. If you look past the politics of a post, you can see the anger. The fear. Incredible sadness. Parents are wondering what to do. They are wondering how they can possibly send their kids into a “safe” environment to potentially never see their kids again.
I found a little peace when stumbling across a famous Mr. Rogers quote, and it is a quote that appears during these tragedies too often. I share this simple thought with my kids to make some sense of a senseless event.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
– Fred Rogers
The helpers. We see them all over the live news footage. The helpers are the first responders arriving onto a scene that will scar, and scare, them for life. They are clearing buildings, escorting kids out, hunting down a sick and twisted individual. These helpers are going into a situation that could result in their engaging an active shooter. They are the first to see the extent of the nightmare.
The helpers are teachers who are scared out of their minds, but stand in harms way. They are charged with protecting our children as best they can with the resources they have. Those resources are sometimes their lives and we hear time and again a teacher giving as much to save their students.
The helpers are paramedics, nurses, and doctors doing their best to save every person they can. Doing their best to keep it together and focus on a task that shouldn’t be necessary.
So, when talking to your kids, talk about the helpers. If you know any helpers, thank the helpers and pray you never need their help.