Interpret News of Disasters to Your Children

The news about Japan has been like something out of a horror movie: earthquakes demolishing buildings, the ocean swallowing whole towns, thousands of people washed out to sea along with houses. All of this followed by meltdowns and explosions at nuclear plants.
Adults can absorb this shocking news with some degree of perspective. Scientific commentary helps. We are able to realize that even vast catastrophes still only involve a small speck of the earth’s surface and people. We do not instantly expect tsunami waves to be crashing over our backyard fences or washing away high rise buildings and apartments. We know fairly well where the earthquakes are most likely to occur. The fault lines are mapped out. There are periodic reports of where the plates are moving. This allows us to figure out where the earthquakes are not likely to occur and where there are not fault lines or moving plates. The same is true for volcanoes: we know where they are, so we also know where they are not.
Children, especially younger children, do not know these things. What they hear and see are frightening sights: waves, fires, destruction, and endless mention and graphics about something terrible that has happened or will happen or might happen or could possibly happen. They do not necessarily How To Cancel Wsj Subscription compute what is far away and what is not. They absorb the emotional stress. Often they do not even articulate what they actually think or feel. Long after the news is history and adults have gotten it out of their minds children still live with impressions absorbed at the time of the disasters.
It is important, therefore, that we adults interpret to children. We can only know what they are taking in and what conclusions they are drawing by asking them – one at a time. Those who remember the Cuban missile crisis might recall going to bed each night having been informed that by the time we awoke, if we were still alive, the world could be experiencing nuclear war. We hid under our desks at school, doing drills for the nuclear blasts that could destroy us instantly. Many children grew up with the assumption that they would be vaporized.
Some things do not change. Then it was nukes. Now it is earthquakes, tsunamis and radiation. The least we can do is interpret for our children enough perspective so that they do not grow up assuming that they there is no future. Although the environmental movement is primarily about the forces of nature, the plain fact is that our media have also become part of our environment.
At the moment one might say this is a mixed blessing, Business Tips Of The Day one that could easily be toxic to the core.

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