Kids and information

Here’s a question for you.  As a mother of a preschooler, and a tragedy strikes (i.e. Haiti ) do you:

  1. Not mention the catastrophe for obvious reasons.
  2. Try to explain what happened in an age-appropriate manner.
  3. Let them watch and see for themselves.

Back when I knew it all, or didn’t have children, I thought the sooner a child understands that the world is unfair the better.

Since then I have been blessed with two ultra-sensitive children.  Swiper, from Dora the Explorer, sends them shrieking from the room and shaking in terror. (On certain episodes only, strangely enough)  Most evenings they beg for us to lay with them in bed because their room is so scary.  (FYI – Gene always does cause he’s a giant teddy bear)

Naturally, I did not mention the earthquakes in Haiti to my kids.  Until….last night at snack time Elena threw a fit because I cut her bagel in half. I was mad, because somehow I produced a spoiled brat, who dared whine about the slicing of foodstuff.

            “Mom! I wanted a whole bagel. I’m not even gonna eat it because you cut it.  Why did you cut it mom? I wanted a bigger bagel.”

It was not cute whining either; it was a screeching, yelling kind of whining.  Then, I let her have it with both barrels.

            “Elena there are children far away, whose houses fell down and they do not have water!  They do not have food! They do not have houses anymore.  And I never, ever, EVER want to hear you whine about bagels again!”

  I ended my tirade by sticking my finger in her nose and shaking it vigorously.  And then we had water works.  She meekly ate her bagel while she cried, and I tried to salvage what was left of our evening.

           

            “Why did their houses fall down, Mom?” Will our house fall down? Mom, you shouldn’t have told me about that, now I will just cry and cry.”

I managed to leave her feeling a little secure. (Pa doesn’t have a history of earthquakes that I know of –whew) We had a simplistic little talk about how God is with us when bad things happen, and He will help us somehow.

According to a book I read recently (referenced below) the human psych was not created to handle knowledge about all the suffering going on in the world.  Thanks to technology, we now have all that information at our fingertips constantly.  Information that previously was held back for those more mature is now blasted to our children.  The day of naivety in childhood seems to be gone.  I mourn that loss.

So on the tight rope, trying to balance between isolation and over-exposure, how do we raise kids in this information age?  I want to get it right, but it’s a tall order because it seems we’re in the first generation to have this specific problem.  I bet there’s an answer to my question somewhere on the web.

Because my day opened up wide

    Originally today was going to be “Sister’s Day”.  For those of you who don’t know what “Sister’s Day” is, it’s when the sisters and sister-in-laws of the family get together and talk and eat.  In Ohio we didn’t call them Sister’s Day because we called them “Coffee Parties”. (And later it shortened to “Coffee”, as in “Elsie is having a Coffee”).

  That bunny trail was just to inform you that “Sister’s Day” was cancelled.  Why? One of the sisters decided to have a baby instead.  The nerve.

  So first of all I was dashing around like poparazzi trying to get a few.  It didn’t work well so we went outside to play.  Here are pictures of our morning.  Hot off the presses, just hours ago.

                                                                                                                                                                            

 

Feb March 08 007   Feb March 08 006     

“I’m just chillin.  The only thing that could make this better is a cookie.  Or no, a bottle. No, make that a bottle and a cookie.”

 

 

Feb March 08 016
I picked pink to remind everybody of the geraniums, the poppies, the daisies, golden rods, the crysanthamum, the monocotyledon that soon will be springing up everywhere.  And it matches Elena’s crocks that she is so proud of.

 

 


Here is the granddaddy of wheelbarrows.  It even gets flat tires, since it thinks it’s a truck or something.

Feb March 08 020
And while my kids are swinging their hearts out, I clean up the winter debris.  See, in the winter time, I do farm-wife things like darn all our stockings, crochet several blankets, repaint the plow for spring plowing, and change all the oil on our pick-ups.  Since I’m so busy with repairs and maintenance the lawn gets neglected.   Just kidding, shoot, now I have to tell what I really do.  Well if I tell you what I really do then there would be no secrets in my life would there?

 

 

Feb March 08 004
AND this is the newest addition to our farm.  We  set it out in our driveway so the feed truck drivers, the chicken salesman,  Gene’s workers, friends and foe don’t run over our kids.  It’s so nice to have a sign we can rely on in these perilous times.

 

Duty calls, I need to run.  Have a fun rest of the day.