Talking With Kids About Paris

The images, audio, and news about the terrorist attacks in Paris worry all of us.   The war on terror is perhaps one of the most difficult things for us to cope with because of its sinister, cruel, and unexpected aspects.panneau-liberte-egalite-fraternite

How do adults stay informed while keeping children safe from the media onslaught?

These are three ways to handle it.

First, turn off the TV and radio.  TV delivers too much live coverage of violence for children to process. Even hearing gun shots and screams on the radio is frightening for many children.

Second, as a parent you have the power to shape the interpretation of what your children learn.  Monitor what they hear and know, then talk with them about it.

Third, find out what your children have heard, think they know, or what questions they have. Answer them simply and honestly.

-Yes, bad things do happen in the world. The grownups are doing everything they can. You are safe with me.

-Look for the helpers (borrowing from MisterRogers). See how many good  people there are?

If children ask, find a way to help them express their emotions.  Painting, drawing, or sending a card or message to the nearest French embassy work.

Thanks to my eighth grade French teacher, I learned La Marseilles, the French national anthem. In solidarity with the French people, there has never been a better time to sing it.


My Mother the Yodeler

“Yodel-ay-hee-hooo!” sang my mother in the car. She had a natural talent for it, learned it as a camp counselor, and once she got going, she’d spin the yodel part like this:


After The Sound of Music movie came out, and Julie Andrews sang “The Lonely Goatherd,” it was fun to have a mother who could yodel on request. No one else’s mother could.

Yodeling originated in the Alps as a form of communication, which makes this Jimmy Fallon/Brad Pitt Tonight Show video  even more hilarious: