I don’t know what to say, and I’m sure you feel the same way.
Keeping that in mind, I have a few offerings for you in case that helps, and mostly I just want to acknowledge that there is work to do in this world, and I am grateful we are doing it together.
Don’t go it alone. There are a lot of articles out there with suggestions about how to talk with our children after events like the shooting in Florida yesterday, and I’ve included a few below, but the list is far from exhaustive. I think reading through those pieces can be a helpful way to sort out your own feelings, and strategize a bit about how to move forward in our responsibilities as parents of children. I also encourage you to reach out to friends and fellow parents and talk about conversations you’ve had, what seems to help and what doesn’t. None of this is super clear, and no one (including me) can give you the answers because there are very real solutions to this problem, and yet, year after year- shooting after shooting, we seem to be moving backward rather than forward.
Check in with your kids. There is a good chance that they’ve heard about what’s going on if they are in school, and just like us, that they are trying to make sense of whatever they’ve heard. Asking and then really listening to what they’ve heard and what they are feeling can go a long way toward restoring their sense of safety because your inquiry tells them you’re paying attention and you’re looking out for them. Go slow, ask open ended questions so your children can help you understand what they need, and don’t be afraid to put a conversation on hold to think over how you want to say something- by taking our time and being careful we model intention instead of the reactivity that is so prevalent in todays’ media, and that is reassuring.
Let us know what you need. If you have thoughts about how our church community can help to support you or your children with all of this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. There are open hours in the sanctuary this week if you are looking for a quiet place to sit. If you have older children (pre-adolescent or teen aged) I would really encourage them to write to their representatives, and I know it doesn’t seem like that helps, but I still believe those letters make a difference, and it is a tangible thing to do in a time when we feel so paralyzed.
I am sending you all so much love. Please reach out if you need anything.
A few Articles:
Lifehacker: How to talk to your kids about mass shootings