The Lydster, Part 90: Talking about Tragedy

It’s been relatively easy to talk to my daughter about individual deaths, such as my mother’s earlier this year. She understands that my father, and my wife’s older brother, died before she was born, and has only photos by which to identify them, and that was helpful in the discussion.

But how does one explain the assassination attempt of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a shooting in which six people were killed, including the pictured nine-year-old girl – not that much older than she is – whose last name was Green, no less? The natural desire is to protect her from such news, and I don’t think she caught the initial story. But there have been plenty of follow-ups, and I know she’s heard at least bits and pieces of those. What does one say? That there are bad people out there? Crazy people out there?

Then there’s the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Of course, the event took place before she was born, but all of the recollections are hard to miss. And those guys are even more difficult to explain. Does this show up in the school curriculum yet? And if so, what does IT say about those events of a decade ago?

(And there’s the broader question of explaining the news when there is so much distortion of the facts by some outlets.)

I went to lunch with a friend of mine who’s around 30 who has decided not to have any children because the world’s just too scary. If the maternal instinct strikes, she’ll adopt, taking care of someone who’s already on the planet anyway. I must admit that I understand her wariness. The environmental and economic troubles alone are sources of concern.

Ultimately, as it turned out, we watched the evening news – the three of us – on September 11 this year. Not sure how much of it she got. Still, my girl is rather resilient; I’ll keep trying to figure out a way to explain the world to her, somehow. Even when the question is “Why”? Why did people fly planes into buildings? Why do we need to remember?

0 thoughts on “The Lydster, Part 90: Talking about Tragedy”

  1. Roger, children face such events differently than adults. I was in a concentration camp and people died. My mum talked about it with other women. I remember that I was more impressed when beatings took place, especially when my mum was struck by a soldier. He hit her only once, but I was deeply shocked. I think you don’t have to talk about it until she starts asking questions.


  2. We tried to instill one basic ethical perspective in our Kid while she was growing up, the “Do not do to others that you would not have them do to you,” with the understanding that the less people live by that, the less civilized, the more primitive they are. SOME people ARE crazy – not everyone, but you need to look out for the nutters; others are just savages, despite nice clothing, and those of us who prefer civilization are in contention with them.


  3. I’m sure with your background of faith, you will be able to teach her well; and raise her to be a compassionate, understanding young woman. At this age, the simplest answers are sometimes all they need. Unfortunately, this side of heaven there are some very bad people in the world who do very bad things. Her questions can open the door to some very interesting discussions. Just make sure you ask her what she thinks the answer is, and then take it from there.


  4. who is this sweet girl?

    Yesterday was my late Son Andrew’s birthday. For once, I was philosophical. He was “Useless” to me when he was alive. He made me a writer because he is dead. Without his dying, I won’t be a published writer.


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