when to talk and when to just shut up

overgrown trees from window with drops in rainy weather
Photo by Sam Willis on Pexels.com

The arms are out to hold some balance

But really it’s impossible

To strike a fair and even pose

When some will love the gore and blood

While others shy from simple words.

It’s hard but, oh, it must be done

To teach our kids the darker side

Of a world we built with our own hands,

Passed to them with shameful eyes,

Lowered to avoid the guilt.

I wrote about grief the other day, and how difficult it seems to be to talk to kids about these difficult subjects. It’s especially difficult not knowing all of their personal circumstances and what could be particularly triggering for them. But where is the line between being too graphic and just sheltering them from a pretty dark world.

In my tutor group I was asked to speak to them about what happened to the teacher in Paris on Friday. It was pretty gruesome but they handled it so well and they asked some amazing questions. They are Year 11 but it was still refreshing to have such mature conversations with them about something so terrible.

I then went to a Year 7 class to teach A Monster Calls and I had a student in floods of tears because of the cancer that is brought up in the book. She had lost a close family member and it was just too hard for her to deal with it. She handled it so well, asking if she could speak to me outside and I found her somewhere quiet to go and sit and read.

But this just goes to show how different students can react so differently to an event or a story. And where do we draw a line? One teacher refuses to teach A Monster Calls because parents get angry. That’s a perfectly acceptable point of view, but are we sheltering them from a world that’s pretty nasty? What happens when they become an adult and they don’t have the emotional resilience to cope with problems?

I ask this because I was one of those sheltered kids and the only way that I could deal with emotional pain as an adult was to drink. It stole my twenties away from me and I fear that these kids are going to suffer in the same way.

It’s a difficult decision to make, but it’s such an important one too. I applaud the Year 11’s who approached the story of the killing with so much maturity and my heart goes out to my Year 7. But I also think it’s really important to actually educate kids in what the world is really like.

Much Love

Rachel xx

6 thoughts on “when to talk and when to just shut up

  1. 𝑹𝒐𝑩𝑰𝑡 πŸŒ‹

    I often fear how un-sheltered modern-day kids must be to the various tragedies that happen in the world, and because tragic events are over-represented everywhere (as always, but even more extreme now I think). Every one-off news story I heard as a child would haunt me for agesβ€” child abductions, kidnapping/beheading of a charity worker. One-off extreme events would haunt me for ages, and the danger of them was massively over-exaggerated in my mind. I couldn’t help but put myself in their position and it was just so heartbreaking. It made me extra-afraid of the dark and of being alone. But most tragic events aren’t relevant to our daily lives.

    Perhaps being given the opportunity to discuss some of these things would’ve helped. And for this particular case you’re talking about, it’s not such a random, isolated incident as most stories you hear about. It has some societal significance as well as historical.

    I am wary of the ‘darkness’ of the world being over-represented though. On the one hand there is the fundamentally cruel nature of natural selection which, only through our civilisations and societies, we’ve managed to transcend. On the other there is the unnecessary cruelty which humans are capable of. But then, because we’re separate from the food chain and have technology and medicine helping us, there is so much positivity too. It can only be subjective according to our personal experience/perspective which differs so greatly across the world, at the end of the day.

    1. patientandkindlove

      It would be nice if the news focused more of it’s energy on positive things. Perhaps, if the good spreads as easily as the bad does, we could live in a very different world in a matter of months!

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