I turned off NPR this morning. A mass shooting with 50 murdered is not the way for a 1st-grader — or anyone — to start the day.

Among the other comments, parents on social media, on radio, with each other are asking how to tell their children about the horror in Las Vegas.

I don’t have an answer. Every child is different. Mine seems to deal with the truth in a pretty straightforward way. Others may be dealing with deeper-seated anxieties that something like this can trigger. Choosing to withhold discussion for now is also a legitimate choice.

Lately, my daughter has been asking a lot about The Beatles. She likes the music and is curious about them. That includes how old are they, who is alive and who is dead.

Just yesterday, she asked me how old George Harrison and John Lennon were when they died, and how it happened. I said George was 58 and had cancer. That one is easy for her. She knows that her grandmother died from cancer before she was born.

For John, I just told the truth without going into detail. I said John was 40 years old and shot by a man as he was leaving his house. I said the man with a gun had problems in the head that made him do it, I had just turned 18 and remember when it happened, and it was horrible. She absorbed that quietly.

I didn’t want to go into more specifics. I did quote John Lennon: life is what happens while we’re making other plans. Part of that means that no one knows what may be. Regardless, I said her mother and I will always keep her safe.

I don’t know if that helps other parents who are wrestling with what to do after school tonight. Every child is different, It’s simply one version of reality as I’ve chosen to deal with it.

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