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Teaching kids about tragedy, violence and other disturbing things in the world becomes simple though books, like here with the story of the Titanic.
Reading the story of the Titanic with my son
Was for both of us a brand new lesson
It was a book written for a preschooler
With simple sentences and many pictures
Not different from his other books in that sense
But it was a story viewed through a very different lens
For my five year old, an introduction it represented
To tragedy, death, misfortune- everything I had prevented
Him from learning about so far, considering his young age
While reading his disappointment grew with each page
As he realized what collision with an iceberg meant
He had tears in his eyes when down the ship went
When he realized that little girls and boys had to be
Separated from their fathers, who drowned in the sea
He closed the book and in a sad voice said to me
I hate this story, I hate the iceberg in the sea
That made the ship sink and people die
Why did this bad thing happen, mommy, tell me why?
I tried to tell him how bad things sometimes happen
So we learn from our mistakes, don’t repeat them again
Of course he is too young to appreciate the dark irony
Of the unsinkable ship sinking on its maiden journey
That set me thinking, when is it appropriate
To introduce children to tragedy, when to state
Unpalatable facts as they are, how to explain
Tragic events-historic and current, in language plain
In today’s world our children are exposed
Through various media, to a significant dose
Of news- at times disturbing and violent
That we cannot always screen as parents
Talking to a five year old about these things
Is not easy, a lot of questions it brings
Forth from the child, for which there are
No perfectly satisfactory answers, by far
I thought this book was the perfect segway
To discussing more serious topics every day
I realized my son was growing up fast
His innocence was not going to last
This book marked an important transition
From fantasy to real life, this was a graduation.
Published here earlier.
Header image is screenshot from the movie Titanic
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