Sarah Shares: Taking Care in Traumatic Times
This morning brought new news of violence with a shooting in California, in the short wake of the horrific shootings in Kentucky and in Pittsburgh: each of these shootings motivated by hatred.
It is natural for these events and the divisiveness of our current culture to shake our sense of stability and cause a strong sense of anxiety in us. As parents, it can be challenging to care for ourselves in processing heartbreaking and frightening news, and to know how to help our children in such troubling times.
Our Montessori philosophy provides guidance in what can be helpful for our children, and for ourselves. We know that young children benefit and take comfort in routine, and in structure that is predictable, understandable and accessible to them. We adults can take comfort in routine as well. I’ve included a link to an article by Gretchen Schmelzer, a psychologist and trauma expert, that I have found helpful in recent years. (See list of this and additional resources below.). Dr. Schmelzer encourages adults to be aware of the impact of traumatic news on our neurological systems, and to protect ourselves from the 24 hour news cycle. She encourages us to keep with routines and rituals in our lives to help reinforce a sense of the familiar for ourselves and our children. And finally, Dr. Schmeltzer invites us to fight helplessness by seeking ways to help, to take action to connect with others and show kindness as part of our daily lives.
Our work with your children is centered in building a strong sense of self and empowerment—an awareness of what each of us can do and its impact on something larger than ourselves. When I am feeling anxious or helpless about the world, I regain my hope and inspiration by focusing on the children that I know and work with every day, as well as their dedicated teachers. The work we do in raising our children and in supporting passionate learning communities like Greene Towne is an investment in a strong and peaceful future. I’m grateful that we are part of that work together.
Five Things to Help Our Children and Ourselves After a Traumatic Event (Gretchen Schmelzer, PhD)
Coping with Violence: A Compilation of Resources (National Association for the Education of Young Children)
Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice (Teaching Tolerance)