When I was growing up we didn’t really talk much about what was happening in the world. I don’t think I knew who the president was and I don’t think my parents ever spoke much about him, while we were around. There was very little talk about what was happening in other countries, certainly none that I was aware of or even remember.
Fast forward 20 years and life is very very different.
Jack knows who the president is, he knows and can recognise Nelson Mandela. Kiara and Cameron often ask me about things they have heard the president say. They both openly discuss current events at school and even if they didn’t , they are both online so these discussions would happen regardless.
Life now is very different. Information about everything, everywhere in the world is literally accessible to everyone. We talk about things now, we argue, we debate, we disagree but more than that huge amounts of information are being shared and our children are seeing it and reading it. It is very difficult to shelter your children today.
This has obviously led to questions from our children, not all of them with easy answers. The last few weeks locally and abroad have raised some tough questions and conversations.
Pretoria East has had an increased number of child kidnapping attempts. I am not one to generally pay much attention to the, often sensation seeking, posts that are shared on Facebook especially but the threats seem real at the moment so we are all on high alert. The schools are on high alert which means we have had to all reinforce the “stranger danger” with our kids and change the way we deal with them when we are out. BUT the tough question was asked by both of mine “What do they want to do with the children they steal?”
Kiara asked first and I ashamedly dodged it and said “nothing good” but then her teachers addressed it with them and explained child trafficking. When Cameron asked, she answered and explained basic child trafficking and how some of the young girls are sold as wives. This was a conversation I never planned on having. My parents never had it with me. I only really learnt about child trafficking about 7 years ago when I was approached by an organisation to share more about it. It was not a fun conversation and I feel like each time we have to tell our kids about the dark side of humanity they lose a piece of their innocence.
The second conversation obviously came after the Paris attacks. Again the schools seemed to have handled this really well and both had a good understanding of what had happened without their being any discrimination of any one group. Our discussions were still hard though, the “why’s” are probably the hardest to explain because I don’t understand why. It is again explaining to them how humans can be evil.
Like most of us, I despair at what we are becoming as a race. The horror and evil we inflict on each other is almost can’t be explained. Of course there is good but sometimes I do feel like the bad is edging ahead of the good, especially when my 11 year old knows that young girls are sold off at 5 years old.
Do you actively talk to your kids about this stuff or do you wait for questions?