If you decide to talk to your kids about the realities of school shootings, how do you do it? That’s a hard question. But there is something to learn from seeing people try to talk about the tough subjects with their kids. A recent video from Cut captured parents’ attempts to have a conversation with their children about the recent shootings.
School shootings — and violence in general — are subjects that kids can wrap their heads around on a basic level, but they might not understand the real gravity of the situation. As the kids in the video display, a big part of that has to do with age, but there’s an element of desensitization that occurs as the events start to seem normal for kids. These children are growing up in an age where one of the biggest dangers in school are shootings, and so the discussion isn’t only about the violence, but also what they would do in a similar situation. The initial trauma has been replaced with contingencies.
The video also touched on one of the more controversial topics to come out of the Parkland shootings: what parents and children thought of teachers being armed. A couple of the parents supported the idea of giving educators guns, while one distinctly expressed her distaste for the idea, noting that “there are a lot of busy hands in a classroom.”
“If the teachers are being armed, I don’t think that would really go well,” one black student said to his mother. “I feel like they’ll kinda use it as a threat. Shoot the gun in the air, ‘ah turn in your homework.’”
Just about all of the conversations became emotional, with the parents starting to tear up at the thought of losing their children in a school shooting. One dad was in support of teachers having guns, but his daughter brought up how having one teacher leave to go protect other students from a shooter would endanger the kids that they were with at the time. Another child started to cry when he realized how in a mass shooting situation, while his instinct would be to help others, in actuality, he’d be totally helpless.
While the video is hard to watch, it does end on a hopeful note, with hugs all around. After one mother told her daughter that it was okay to feel fear, the little girl nodded in agreement before saying “ but you can’t be afraid all the time.” These conversations are difficult; they’re also necessary.