Over the past two years, we lived through world-shifting events, from a deadly pandemic to a racial justice movement, all within months of each other. There have been catastrophic wildfires across the globe, and new strains of human killing viruses started to appear seemingly out of nowhere. A new president was elected, riots broke out at the US Capitol, and a new vaccine came about.
Our world changed overnight. We saw cities abandoned to silence, we started working from home, ordered everything online, and our kids went to schools and extracurricular classes online. We wore face masks and became afraid of any physical contact. Our kids’ social lives were heavily impacted, our mental health suffered, the anxiety was over the roof, and we didn’t know what to expect next.
As parents, we want to protect our children from it all, but it’s impossible to shelter them completely from the news of the world.
Do you watch the news with your kids? Do you discuss national and international events with them? I stopped watching the news years ago because it became increasingly depressing and too much for my anxiety to handle. But now and then, I follow up on significant events to be in the know without getting into too many details. So, I understand when parents do not allow their children to watch the news or get involved in some “grownup” discussions.
As a child, I have always been interested in the grownup world. I started by reading the newspapers, just like my dad at age six. I watched the news at least twice a day, and… wait for it… watched the parliament sessions religiously (I grew up in Egypt). I know it sounds weird, but I was genuinely interested. I knew way more than my peers at a very young age and would often get involved in heated political discussions with grownups. I enjoyed being in a debate club discussing everything controversial, handling the school’s newspaper and the daily school “podcast.”
These were interesting topics, but I felt they were very important for me to know. I didn’t like it when the grownups said, “This is a grownup discussion.” So, I had to convince them that I did understand every word of it.
It could have made my anxiety worse, but it made me a better person. I was aware, knowledgeable, and developing my views and opinions, and I became empathetic, yearning to help others in any way I could.
I still believe that my kids should know what is happening around them. I hate for them to be oblivious to what is going on in the world they are a part of.
I let them know when there is a major event like a pandemic, a presidential election, planets aligning for a once-in-a-lifetime event, a major scientific discovery, or a war. We watch or read about it, discuss it, and share our thoughts, fears, and hopes.
I love to hear what my children have to say. I love witnessing their process of forming an opinion. They always start by repeating what they hear, thinking it’s their own, and then realizing it’s not. They then begin to formulate their ideas about each subject, and it’s fascinating.
I love it when they say they want to go to a march or a rally in support of a cause they believe in or when they use their social media to advocate for what they think is right. I love how empathetic they are, not self-centered, and how they know the world is bigger than just their home, town, or group of friends.
It teaches them not to judge others based on their beliefs or political views. It teaches them that we are all humans at the end of the day and that a virus does not distinguish between Left or Right, North or South, East or West.