Every time one of those beautiful smiling faces of the children of the Newtown Massacre appeared on the screen, I looked away. It was as if by not watching , by not seeing, it wasn't real. Pretty tough since we all lived through every agonizing moment of it covering it live as it unfolded in the newsroom here at Fox 11 in Los Angeles. Then at the end of an excruciating day as we shifted our roles from newspeople to parents it became apparent that we had to do what everyone else with kids out there had to do, which was talk to our kids when we got home. We had to explain what happened, tell them that they're going to be okay, tell that there's nothing for them to fear, and tell them that we'd always be there for them. The problem with that, as I see it though , a lot of that just isn't 100 % true.
"Talk to your kids'' all the psychologists and other experts said in the wake of Newtown . We had the brilliant author and child behavior expert Wendy Mogel live on our air with ways to approach this ‘'process'. www.wendymogel.com It all makes perfect sense.. except that the messages so many told us to send to our kids… such as "schools are safe'', "you'll be okay"…. " "Mommy and Daddy will always be there to protect you''…are things that we just can't guarantee any more, but we say it anyway. I said it. Is that right or wrong ? I know ‘'statistically'' www.nssc1.org/school-violence-statistics the odds of your child being the victim of school violence are astronomical, but given how smart our kid are these days, and how much information they're exposed to even if we try to limit it and shield them, they have to process in their little brains that it DOES happen and if it can happen to ‘'them'' it can happen to ‘' me. To me, as a parent, saying something like ‘' well Johnny, schools are safe MOST of the time ‘'…. ‘' you'll be fine UNLESS a crazed gunman shows up and that probably won't happen" would just make things worse and create more uncertainty and paranoia, wouldn't it ? So instead, we offer blanket generalities that we hope sound sincere and penetrate that aura of fear some of our kids are living with and trying to conceal. But when we tell these ‘'lies'' in the name of reassuring them, are we in fact doing them a disservice ? I'm just not sure. Because the bottom line, as we've seen, schools are not always safe, kids won't always be okay, and 20 sets of parents now have to live with the horrible reality that no, they weren't able to protect their kids when their kids needed them most and how do you explain that?