Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Today I am a Hokie

I am in shock over the tragedy that struck Virginia Tech yesterday. I have an extended family member there. I was frantic to know how she was yesterday. I got a call at about 12:30 letting me know she was okay, but it wasn't until I saw her update her Facebook page that I felt reassured. It was like reaching out and hugging her virtually. For the rest of the afternoon I couldn't close that browser window. Seeing her profile pic and her comment "thankful to be alive" was reassuring amidst all the horrific news I was hearing.

In the past 36 hours online groups commemorating the victims, sharing condolences and expressing support for the Va Tech community have formed. This is how the generation of digital natives connect to one another and comfort one another. It is moving to see how they have used social networking tools to respond positively to senseless violence.

Join others in supporting the Va Tech community in their time of shock and grief. If you have a Facebook account, join VT Unite Global. Or visit VT Incident, a Web site created by Va Tech students to collect information, share feelings and offer condolences.

I shared the news with my children when they got home from school yesterday. My five year old wanted to see it on the news. I think it was her way to make it real. My eight year old wondered aloud why my husband and I were still talking about when we knew that our family member was not hurt. We tried to explain to her that many people were hurt and even killed without terrifying her. It is so difficult to talk with children about horrific events like this. However, I believe that it is better to talk with them in the open instead of letting them overhear bits of conversation and wonder about it on their own.

Here are a couple links with suggestions on how to talk with children about tragedies.
Talking to Children about Terrorism and War - American Academy of Pediatrics
A National Tragedy: Helping Children Cope - National Association of School Psychologists

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the shootings of April 16.

1 comment:

wesleyjeanne said...

As you know, we, too had a family member there. Mark is pretty upset. One of the men killed was his favorite professor--whom Mark had just seen the night before at the gorcery store with his wife and children. Looking at the profiles of the victims, I saw a 42-year-old professor of engineering with three children and thought how much he resembled Paul.
Thank you for the advice on sharing with children. I so often think my child is too young to understand and so don't talk to her directly, but the other day I was listening to the radio report about the shootings, and they followed with a story about the Sallie Mae corporation. My three-year-old then asked me out of the blue "Who's Sally?"
Even very young children are listening.