Children entering this new millennium are faced with life issues that were unspeakable to us growing up as children. Death related tragedies such as suicide, homicide, and AIDS, and non-death related traumas such as divorce and separation, foster care and abandonment, bullying and terrorism, and abuse and violence have left our children sitting alone in their homes, unfocused and unmotivated in their classrooms, and terrorized in their communities. They are overwhelmed with their feelings and distracted by their thoughts.
Survivorship of these traumas creates for any child a loss of their assumptive world of safety, protection, and predictability. The role of the media as a surrogate communal parent and extended family further creates this same traumatic loss of this assumptive world for many if not most of our children.
Children naturally assume their world will be filled with safety, kindness, and meaning as they attempt to answer the universal questions of who am I and why am I here. All too often these qualities seem to disappears into a nightmarish universe of randomness, isolation, and unpredictability. This leaves many of today¹s young people immersed in a new assumption: There is no future. There is no safety. There is no connectedness or meaning to my life. By joining together as a global grief team, caring adults can co-create an assumptive world that again provides a child¹s birthright to presume love, generosity, and value will be integral parts of their lives.
We are raising a segment of our youth that are numbed, disconnected from their hearts, their minds, and their consciousnesses, and choosing all to easily, other alternatives such as drugs and alcohol, crime and violence as ways of coping with the loss of their assumptive world. In yesterday's world we may have protected ourselves from trauma by having fire drills in our schools. In today's world our kids protect themselves from danger in the schools by having gun-fire drills. Too many of today's school children are grieving children. So many of our boys and girls are born into a world of grief and loss issues that live inside their homes and lay waiting for them outside their doorsteps, on their streets, schoolyards, and classrooms. Increasingly, children are traumatized by prevailing social and societal loss issues in their families, their schools, their nation, and their world.
Text adapted with permission from Life and Loss: A Guide to Help Grievng Children, Breaking the Silence: A Guide To Help Children With Complicated Grief: Suicide, Homicide, AIDS, Violence, and Abuse and Helping The Grieving Child in the School Healing Magazine (Kidspeace) and Growing Up Fast (NES). This information can not be reproduced without acknowledging source.