Caring for Our Children in Times of Tragedy

adult-affection-baby-236164.jpg“IN TIMES OF TRAGEDY … The events of September 11, 2001 will long be remembered as a day pivotal to world and American history.  Teachers and parents are hearing advice – important advice – about how to care for children during these turbulent times.  Many of us are working to establish stronger links with one another – simply because we need the love and security that families and friends provide.

In considering how we might establish a more secure environment for our children, we can turn to what we know to be most basic about childhood development.  We know that children make connections to their world based upon the bond that exists between the child and primary caregiver.  Thus, it is a time for emphasizing family ties, especially those one-on-one relationships that thrive within the immediate family.  Through the ages, music has been used to enhance family bonds; so now is a time to sing and hold our children close, using music’s power to comfort and console.  we also know that children need order in their lives.  This includes times of daily quiet that feature rest or relaxation with very little chatter or activity.  Listening to soothing music during this time will provide a nonverbal reminder of the beauty and order that exist in our world.

… It is important for children to realize that they are part of a larger world and that there are many good people in their world.  Patriotic songs express a connection between the self and a larger body, while often conveying a common ideal.  This might help explain some of the emotions felt when singing such songs – or when hearing stories about the courageous actions of men and women.  Such stories and songs are what epics are made of and are central to the storytelling process of days gone by.  Through song and story, children learned about the greatness of their ancestors and pondered their own place in  their communities.  Perhaps it is time to retell such stories and to craft new stories that will inspire today’s children.

Children are moved by events both tragic and heroic, by deeds both great and small, and they need to find expression for such thoughts and feelings.  We can set a good example for our children by telling heroic stories of our own (representing our own families, communities, and beyond) and by singing and making up songs that convey what words alone cannot express.  Music can help our children – and us – through these times.  Keep the songs and stories coming!”

ECC Leadership Bulletin, Vol. 7 No. 2.  Pub. by the

oundation for Music-Based Learning, Greensboro, NC.