Friday, July 19, 2013

On Opening the Dialogue...

To be honest, I wasn't sure that I was going to blog about this.

Its been a long time since I blogged about earthquakes as I feel that there are others who can write far more eloquently and emotionally on the subject than I can.

I live in an area where, although we were shaken around A LOT, the houses and infrastructure held up remarkably well. In my area of town, there are few obvious outward signs of the destruction that has occurred in our city and if I were to show you pictures, you would be blissfully unaware of the trauma that has been endured here over recent years.

Since the quakes are now pretty rare and far between here, it has been fairly easy to avoid the subject of the earthquakes with our children. It is not something that they are confronted with on a regular basis. But in recent times I have become increasingly aware that this is a subject that we need to discuss (carefully) with them.

They need to know that it is not normal for the centre of town to be one big derelict parking lot.
They need to know that there are still a lot of people living in damaged and dirty contaminated houses.
They need to know about the history that is going on around them.

I feel very strongly that by ignoring difficult truths, we do not make them any easier for our children to cope with. In fact, it can lead to significant problems down the road. To me, it is very important that they know and understand NOW.

So the other week when the army patrolled cordon was lifted around the city centre (The Red Zone), we took the children for a look. Before we arrived, we told Rascal a bit about what we were going to see and we prepared her a bit for the empty spaces and broken buildings. We explained that "the bangs" (as she called them) were earthquakes and that they had caused a lot of damage to our city.

It has been interesting to see her processing the information that she was given. She looked and she saw, but because enough time has passed since she herself was petrified by the bangs, that she wasn't traumatised by it all.

That said, we were glad that we warned the preschool teachers about where she had been at the weekend as she told them and her friends about the broken buildings that she had seen.

While all this was going on, Rascal saw me making hotties for the Hottie Project. I explained who the hotties were for and why they were necessary.

We talked about one of her little friends who will have to move house and her house will be knocked down. Rascal immediately decided that we needed to make a hottie cover for her friend. She then sat down and drew a mountain of drawings for her friend and her mum because she thought that they would be sad to be living in a broken house!

Kids are amazing aren't they!

11 comments :

  1. So important to do these things so kudos to you. Kids take in a lot more than we realise sometimes. If we just pretend it isn't there then they don't get to work with the facts. Can be more damaging that way. As I was reading this I heard a report of another earthquake so hope all is ok. x

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  2. What a great way to show and help Rascal understand and process all that has happened around her.....and what a compassionate little girl for drawing all those pictures for her friend and mummy xx

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  3. Love the way you treated this important issue Juliet! Sounds like you did a great job x

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  4. ah that's awesome. Do link this in on Monday if you want to. xx

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  5. It's so easy to forget these things when they happen far away. Thanks for reminding me and thanks for sharing a great parenting story, too. xx

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  6. What a lovely story and family :). Kids are amazing - what a lovely approach and sweet kind girl x

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  7. it's so important for kids to be able to process important things such as the earthquakes, no matter their age, probably even more important than an adult. and they need a guide. you are a wise one. claud does not remember the feel of a quake, but she is quite preoccupied by the cracks everywhere x

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  8. Kids sure are amazing! I really feel for the people in Christchurch!
    We have been shaken in Wellington all weekend and the city is in lockdown today as they assess the damage and safety requirements. We are fine where we are so it really didn't occur to me that there would be as much damage to the city as there has been.
    They are pretty unsettling. Must admit that this weekend made me question for the second time why we moved back to NZ. The first was after the massive storm hit Wellington. We really haven't had a good run with natural disasters since we moved here in the last 2 months. Can only get better right?!

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  9. Awww! This has made my day. (I put off reading this particular post until I had a good moment to take it all in, not interrupted).

    How cool to see a result of the day trip so quickly! She must be thinking and thinking about everything she learned that day. Then, as soon at the opportunity arrived she wanted to help. That's so special!

    There's a load of good parenting advice here too :) It's easy to keep on with life and forget to teach/explain (the obvious to us adults) to our children. Thank you.

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  10. great post, so lovely to see you building compassion and resilience into your children. Thanks for sharing.

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