Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of things that happen in the world. This past week is no exception. What happened in Christchurch is unspeakable. So many lives lost, and unbearable pain and devastation for the families, for the community and the country.
How do we make sense of what is senseless?
As adults, it’s all complicated to process, and for many of us, we are speechless. Others may have been involved in long, drawn out and even heated conversations. None of us can put a full stop at the end of any discussion because it can’t be the end. Is the world really hurting this much? The obvious answer is yes.
As adults, this is all so hard to process, and with today’s digital connectivity we need to consider what it’s like for our kids to process. They see the images, they pop up, even when we try to shield them, they hear the stories, and they know wrong things are happening in the world around them.
In the case of the horrifying events in Christchurch, the gunmen had a Go Pro on his head to insight fear and share his message of hate. This POV video was viewed across the world. For those who saw the live stream, it was bone-chilling. Thankfully and rightfully so, YouTube and other social media platforms have done their best to make sure that footage has been removed.
Today I want to remind you that we need to be mindful of what our children and we see. We need to have regular conversations about what we’ve come across and what has popped up in our feeds whether it be during a seemingly harmless transition from game to game or sidebar advertising.
We are bombarded with messaging, images and language that can rest in the recesses of our minds and our souls and can lead to anxiety, fear or even depression. Conversation is imperative and a simple solution of ‘net nanny’ is no longer an answer.
Parents make sure you open up safe places for your kids to talk. Hear what they have to say about what they may or may not have seen. Listen to how they are processing. Listen to what they have heard on the playground and be their sounding board.
I’m reminded of the beautiful, wise words found in a prayer that was written by Saint Francis that says:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.
May we all be instruments of peace, love, pardon, union, faith, hope, light and joy.
Take some time this week, as a family, to remember the victims of such a horrific display of hatred and violence and in our own homes may we sow love and kindness to one another and to the world around us.