Talking to Our Kids About Ferguson

Sad. Mean. Evil. 

Those were the words coming out of my girls' mouths as we sat at the kitchen table and flipped through images of Michael Brown, Officer Darren Wilson, and the ravaged town of Ferguson. 

Many people think that this isn't an issue fit for children to discuss or think about or see. To be clear, I don't ever want to jump to push scary stuff down my kids' throats and traumatize them...but ultimately can see only benefits for them in learning to think through current events. Especially those that are complex. And especially those involving race. 

Image courtesy of under CC0

Image courtesy of under CC0

Now that the Ferguson events are more or less "over," it has been a good moment to look at all the facts (as we know them through Google and newsmedia) from a bird's eye view perspective. We talked about all the people involved and that none were all good or all bad, and it was easy to see that this has been a series of very bad decisions made out of desperation by far too many. 

We talked about injustice and racism and violence and the metaphor behind the creepy masks. I needed a second cup of coffee. And a third one as we talked about the robbery, what both sides say happened when Brown was killed, the process of a grand jury making this kind of decision, the grief of Brown's family when they heard the news of no indictment, the uncontrollable outrage of the crowds, tear gas, the idiocy of rioting and looting, and how police officers are ultimately good and here to help us...even though they (just like everyone else) can make big mistakes sometimes.

And then as I listened to their reactions, it was interesting that one of my girls felt more angry about the whole situation, whereas the other one just felt sad. She climbed up in my lap and wrapped my pink arms around her brown ones and we were both thankful that here, at least, we are all safe from this crazy mixed-up world. 

Sad. Mean. Evil. Yes, all of those. 

So get out there, my sweet girls, and change it.