Helping Children Dealing With Horrific News


A resource list from my colleague Cathy Seggel, MTS, Director of Religious Education at the First Unitarian Church of Providence, in Rhode Island. She sent it to our teachers. I thought it might be useful for a wider group of people.

As the tragedy at the Boston Marathon continues to lockdown both Bostonians and the hearts of us all, we struggle to support and comfort people of all ages. When this kind of senseless violence strikes, the words of children’s television icon and Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers are often invoked:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

We saw this after the Boston explosions, when good people ran toward the danger and broke through metal barricades to carry injured people to medical tents; we saw this in the actions of marathon runners who detoured from the final leg of their race to run to the nearest hospital to donate blood; we saw this in the outpouring of hospitality offered to stranded runners and families housed in spare rooms, on couches and floors, who were fed, warmed, held, and kept safe by strangers and friends alike.

We have also had to add the West, Texas explosion, toxic laced letters and mid-west floods to our prayers of concern. We look for the helpers and the hope.

I have been compiling on-line resources for teachers, parents to help in that process. Here are a few:

“Talking with Children About Horrific News” by Michelle Richards

“Boston Marathon 2013: What Story to tell our Children… and Ourselves” by Gail Forsyth-Vail, UUA Adult Programs Director

“How to Talk to Kids about Traumatic Events” a video from PBS for parents of young children

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