Our kids and their violent world

This past week has been one filled with tragedy for many families and confusion for many kids who were looking forward to seeing the latest installment in the Batman series The Dark Knight Rising.

The immediate knee jerk response of discussion gun violence and the need for more gun laws was bandied about.  There were also conversations about violence in the media that allowed this to happen.  Then there were the questions about whether this movie should be a PG-13 or R rated movie which may have prevented some of the younger children from even being there in the first place.

But what do we do now.  How do we talk to our kids so that they do not live in fear.  This event seemed so random.  It could have happened anywhere.

I am lucky in a way because I have very dear friends in Colorado and so I followed their lead.  My friend Chris wrote a beautiful post about the town no one had heard of before Friday.  READ CHRIS' POST HERE.

Another friend from Atlanta whose husband and kids were in a different theater in another state wrote her thoughts HERE.

My kids are a little older and so on Sunday (during the matinee) I took them to see the Dark Knight Rising and we talked about the events of the midnight release.  Their comments were particularly interesting to me because it wasn't about the violence in the movie or the availability of guns that seemed important to them.  What they talked about most was how people don't connect with each other on a human level as much as they should.  

My oldest son talked about an information overload and with social media we can have this false sense of connection but we really aren't talking with each other - we are just talking to each other.  There is a faceless person on the other side of the facebook account.  There is a nameless being behind the username on Tumblr.  He talked about conversations he had seen between two people where the first person was just waiting for the second person to stop talking so that the first person could jump in with their witty comment.  They weren't actually listening to what the other person was saying but instead they were thinking about what they were going to say next.

So, more important than changing gun laws (criminals are notorious for not obeying laws anyway), or blaming it on violent movies we should reach out and connect with each other in a very real and human way. Perhaps its time to start listening more and teaching our kids how to be great listeners.