Yesterday, as most you should know, another shooting took place at a High School. For years, I have been able to mostly keep my kids from hearing about these things. Protect them.
But yesterday, on our way to the Library, the radio station we were listening too (Christian so I don't typically worry what is said on it), they mentioned it. And my girls asked questions.
"Why would someone do that?" "How could that happen?"
Really, the same questions that were going through my head. And as I began to answer their questions in an age appropriate way, I realized, my 10 year old's love of Star Wars could help me.
So, if you have a Star Wars lover in your home, or even if your kids know about Star Wars you can use it to explain some of these horrible things.
So, in case this can help another mother out, here we go (Note: I am working on a Mom blog where tips like this will be shared, but until it's ready to launch, I am using what I have)
1. Hurt People, Hurt People
Look at Anakin Skywalker. He started out so cute. A smart, caring little guy. But, when he lost his mother, he was hurt. Inside he was hurting and never dealt with or got over that loss. That hurt grew. That hurt turned into hate. And if you know the story you know where that led.
So, as we talk about this story with my girls, we also talk about hurting people. With our words or actions whether accidentally or on purpose. How often, those people who do such horrible things, were hurt themselves. That we need to be aware of how our actions and words can hurt people. To apologize if we do hurt someone. To maybe help them with the hurt. So they don't end up never letting go of that hurt, letting it fester and grow till it became hate. And hate is a killer.
2. Uncontrolled Anger takes control
As adults, we know that anger is a real emotion that everyone feels. And it's ok to be angry sometimes, but it's NOT ok to never let go of that anger.
Our kids know anger, they feel anger. They've probably seen anger. But we need to teach our kids what happens when we never deal with that anger. There are good ways to deal with anger. Scream in a pillow, hit a pillow, and of course pray. Talk if over with someone you trust and know will give you good advice. Right now, that's us. The parents. Later, it will be their friends (so we may need to make sure their friends will lead them right). If you're a Christian, it will also be God. Even if it's a therapist, we need to talk about our anger, work it out and the LET IT GO. Forgive. Not because the person deserves it, but because it's what we need to move past it and not let the anger rule our lives. And our kids need to see this and hear this. They need our help in doing it.
Star Wars wise, you can stay with Anakin or even move down the family tree to Kylo Ren.
In the most recent movie, you saw that possibly Kylo Ren wanted to not be angry. He wanted to be happy and let it go. But, when things didn't go his way, he got mad. The anger he never dealt with, combined with this new anger and hurt and became an out of control force. I mean seriously, who would have every gun in their arsenal shoot at one person?? (sure it was a hologram of Luke, but still. Sorry if that was a spoiler) By the end of the movie you 100% know, without a doubt, Anger CONSUMES Kylo Ren. And his life is directed by that anger.
When my kids are letting their anger take control I will often say, "The anger is strong in this one. To the dark side they will go." Which often makes them laugh, ease up a little and talk it out. If it doesn't, I give them other options. Other things to do. Listen to music, dance, go for a walk, breathe. But we have to help our kids learn techniques to diffuse anger.
Talk about anger. And talk about what happens when you let your anger grow. Then talk about how to stop that.
Now, I am not a therapist. So, I wanted to share Tips for Teaching your child how to deal with anger from someone who is. And here is another article from Scholastic.com as well.
I hope this helps. And maybe, if we can teach our kids about how to safely deal with hurt and anger...maybe their generation will stop this insanity.