Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Parenting After A Tragedy

After Sunday I told myself that I had spoken my last piece on the Sandy Hook tragedy and I just couldn't and wouldn't think on it anymore. I grieved for them, I was angry for them, I hugged my son, and I prayed for them. Everyone on facebook posts a message for them at least once a day and I just can't handle it anymore, thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach. Then something happened yesterday that made me more sick.

I have a teenage cousin who was complaining because it now takes her twice as long to get to her lunch room and by the time she gets there lunch is half over due to a rule that everyone is only allowed to enter through the front door. Then someone who goes to school with her commented "Gee thanks, school shooters". They're teenagers, they don't have children of their own and they don't know how to process the violence. I was in 9th grade when the twin towers were struck and as upset as everyone was I just couldn't bring myself to feel the devastation everyone else did. I just didn't see how it affected me. So I get it, I understand their apathy, but it worries me.

I know she's a good kid, and I'm sure her friend is too but I had to stop myself from berating them online and remind myself it's not my place. How dare they bitch about an inconvenient lunch schedule when they're safe, when they get to go home to their families every night. Now it makes me wonder, should we say something? Should we force empathy, and sympathy on them? Should we force them to think outside of their selfish bubble to the world around them? Would it make them better adults if they learned to care more a little earlier? Or should we let them just feel what they feel selfish or not, and develop complex caring emotions in their own time? My son's only a preschooler but one day I'll have to deal with these types of parenting dilemmas. So what are your thoughts, Should sympathy, and empathy be taught, or developed with age and experience?

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