Sunday, March 20, 2011

Look for the helpers

We didn't get to talk about the Earthquake in Japan before the break. If it comes up in the discussions of the children, I will be focusing on all of the people who are helping -- and how we can help.

This is a partial post from Preschool-blogger Teacher Tom (see the whole post here) [ I've done the 'bolding']:

We can’t keep the truth from our children: it would be a crime to try. Our first responsibility, it seems to me, is to be aware of the emotions, both ours and theirs, name them (“I’m disappointed,” “You seem angry,” “I think we’re both sad.”), accept them, and just feel them.

As parents of young children we may not fully control the channels of communication with the outside world, but we are their main source of interpretation. Whatever the subject matter, we owe our children our honest opinions, emotions, questions and understandings. It’s perfectly normal that my own deep sadness or anger or despair would be shared by my child. But it's my job to make sure it doesn't end there. I need to help her [his daughter], as I help myself, work through those feelings and find away to move forward in hope and joy: I don’t want live any other way.

One of the most concrete ways, I think, to find that hope is, as Mister Rogers says, is to "look for the helpers."

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.

Fortunately, for most of us the world is not so full of daily disaster. Your child is unlikely to experience much of it except on TV, and frankly I don’t think that’s such a bad place to get some initial exposure as long as you’re there with them. It doesn’t have to be television: passing the scene of a traffic accident or witnessing the business end of a fire department call to a neighbor’s house would serve just as well. Viewing disaster at a distance gives parents an opportunity to calmly lay down a little philosophical groundwork to prepare for when tragedy strikes closer to home.

Brilliantly, Mister Roger’s mom came up with looking for the helpers. It was a simple observation that comforted him throughout his life.

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