In my past life I used to write about shootings, murders and car accidents like they were nothing. I could have done it in my sleep. The words “gun”, “killed”, and “died”, would roll off my finger tips and lips as if I was singing a nursery rhyme. Even after my first child was born, I used to wait for the big story, a.k.a. a big accident, fire, or other tragedy, to lead off my newscast. Someone else’s heartache was the big story I was waiting for all day just so I could have the best show. I was wrapped up in such a little bubble of death and negativity that I never gave one thought if a child was going to hear or see one of the stories that really made my day.
That is, until recently. Let me start off by saying I don’t round up my girls to sit down and watch the news. But, when it is snowing for the second time in two days and there’s been no school, you better believe I want to know when all this crap is going to stop. So, with that said, I turned on the news to find out the forecast. It was, of course, the lead (because we all know “weather wins”). Shortly after I heard the depressing news of how much more snow we were going to get I went into the kitchen to start dinner, leaving the TV on the news channel. I didn’t even think that my four-year-old would still be in there watching and listening because usually she runs off to play.
“Mommy, they said someone got shot and killed.” I wanted to crawl in my oven and die. I didn’t know what to say. I wanted to kick myself for not switching the channel. Instead, I told her yes, unfortunately these sad things happen and I quickly grabbed the remote.
As I was cooking dinner I was thinking about how sad it is that kids can’t watch the news. They can’t learn what’s going on because there’s just so much bad stuff. Although they used to be a regular part of my vocabulary, I don’t want words like “gun” and “killed” to be a part of theirs.
I’m not saying newscasts need to be kid friendly. I know how it works. I know they are not meant for children and parents should not let them watch. That is why I get most of my news these days through my phone. This way I can still know what’s going on in the world without exposing my children to it. But, isn’t it sad it has to be that way?
I guess being on the other side of the fence makes you think about things in a different light. Maybe someday younger kids can watch more than the weather without mommy having to run for the remote.