What can we tell the children after yet another mass shooting?
What can we say to those who survived this time?
How can innocent minds conceive of all the madness about them?
How can we speak to such innocence?
If we value love the most, we will speak to them of love.
We'll tell them that we love them, and some may say that love conquers all.
Love might indeed, if we allowed it, if we believed in it enough to make it so.
Love is, at the least, a healing balm, for wounds of all kinds, applied properly, with the utmost
We might hold them close and assure them that, with love, we will do all within our
power to protect them, to secure safe places for them, to watch over them day and night,
to always be, as much as we can, a shield between them and harm.
We might say that most people in the world love children, want only the best for children,
value children, and will be there for children like those teachers were.
Tell the children that there are far more people who love children than who don't.
The truth is always best when dealing with children.
Have you ever noticed how "brutally honest" children are with other children?
I don't think that when most children point out flaws in or problems with others that they do so with malice. That's just the way it IS in a child's mind. There ARE differences among us, and children see those differences, and may casually speak of them. If they find something less than pleasant, something unusual, or something that troubles them, unless they have been severely suppressed by adults from speaking their minds, they just say so.
To say that another child is mean, or ugly, or unlikeable, or any other thing is simply the honesty of a child, based on his/her immature understanding of others in the world. Children live quite simply as they grow toward the teen years. Things really are "black or white", "good or bad", "right or wrong" in their minds. They don't need "shades of gray" just yet. They don't see a need for "political correctness", nor psychological mind games, nor of subjugating others by ridicule or by any other tool in an adult's tool box for living.
I wonder WHY we ever change that.
Simple is good.
Tell the children the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. They can handle it! Truth creates strength. And, in case you haven't noticed, they'll likely never trust you again once they catch you in a lie!
The truth is, there have always been and shall always be people in this world who, for whatever reason (insanity, hate, plain old viciousness) will hurt other people, or even kill other people. That's just the way it is and, try as we will, we may never, ever figure out why. Tell the children that we just don't know WHY yet. It is merely a fact of life, sadly, regrettably, but there it is. Some people will hurt or kill children. But, they are fewer in number than those who won't hurt, who won't kill the innocent.
Just as one rainy day doesn't ruin a week of mostly sunshine, nor one rotten apple spoil an entire orchard, so, too, we must realize one murderer doesn't mean that all of humanity harbor murderous intent. That children should know this, that we must communicate this to them, doesn't mean we should make it into anything but a pure truth. It's just a truth, like fire CAN burn, or that even the edge of a paper CAN cut you.
You see, there really ARE 'monsters' out there. One MAY cross our paths today, but most likely won't, and every day that there are no monsters is a really good day.
Tell the children that we will listen.
Whatever they have to say, we will just listen, not interrupt, just focus on what they're telling us, just LISTEN, until they're done with the telling. Tell them it's important to us to hear ALL of what they have to say, that their thoughts turned into words are of great importance to us, have incredible value to us.
We can, we MUST just listen to them! And not 'preach', not use our pat answers, our premeditated cookie-cutter responses on children. EACH child is vastly different in emotional makeup, in their ability to sort things out, in their comprehension of what is going on about them. Each one needs varying degrees of explanation, of instruction, of patience, and of our time and attention.
We can't file them into a room of counselors, apply the same technique to ALL, and hope for a good outcome! Little Johnny is NOT Little Janey, nor will he EVER be! Each child is unique, so let us deal with each uniquely.
After they have finished talking, and we have diligently listened with all the respect they are due, then perhaps we could just ask THEM what THEY think can be done, or ought to be done. Get THEIR opinions of what might come next, of how THEY want to handle this.
Do they want to just scream for a bit? Do they want to weep? Do they need to DO something to feel better, and WHAT? If we approach them with THEIR feelings in mind, and deeply listen, we just may reach a new level of 'social justice', of how to get past such a waking nightmare, of how to HELP avoid the next one. Children often have fantastically wondrous ideas on such things. Maybe the reduced simplicity of their ideas and thoughts shock us, but if so, then perhaps we've forgotten our own youth, and possibly we need to lean more toward a child's concept of living and life...simplistic, honest, straightforward.
Tell the children that this is a NEW day, and the day of killing is over now. This new day probably will NOT have killing in it. Children will be safe today. TODAY is today, not yesterday, not tomorrow.
On THIS day we'll hold them, love them, listen to them, allow them to express to us what THEY need to go forward.
Tell the children that we're very sorry that this type of thing exists in our world, and that they can help all of us make the world better. Tell them that love can do many more things than hate can. Tell them that understanding takes a lot of time and hard work, but that, together, we CAN get there....even from here.
Tell the children, "You are our finest treasures. We will do all we can to keep you from harm. We love you all more than words can say."