Monday, July 25, 2011
Here at our farm we have no flags to put at half-mast. Hoping these French teddy bears will offer comfort. Meantime, hearts going out, all over the world, to the Norwegian victim's families.
en berne (ahn bairn)
: at half-mast
Audio File: Download MP3 or Wav file
Les drapeaux norvègiens sont en berne. Norwegian flags are at half-mast.
Improve your French pronunciation with Exercises in French Phonics
A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse
Avoir le Moral en Berne = To Be Dispirited
Last night I lie in bed reading a brilliant work of fiction. I might have read throughout the evening, only I could not keep my mind on the poetic words of the story. And when I found myself looking out the window, staring dully at the mulberry tree, or gazing up at the same familiar patterns in the wooden plafond, I gave up and closed the book.
I tied on my peignoir and walked down the hall, to my son's room. Lightly rapping on the door, I opened it to find our sixteen-year-old in a high speed chase over a freeway bridge, about to pass beneath a semi-truck. It was a relief to catch him playing a jeu de course. But, given the horrific news from Norway, I was here to talk to him about the other games he was playing.
"Max... On peut parler?"
Seated on our son's messy bed, I searched for words to aborder a delicate topic. I knew that in bringing up the subject of "les jeux de stratégie" (read: "war games"), I'd be tempted to bring up the abominable example of what can happen to a person who becomes obsessed with les jeux de guerre.
But would it not be taboo or superstitious, or just plain creepy--even unethical--to tell my son that the result of so much game playing could lead innocents such as himself to such a macabre end?
No, I dared not say it. It would be something like trahison to infer or insinuate... to even imagine that my child could turn into a monster! I could not risk introducing a foreboding facet to his sparkling vision of life... or his innocent self in relation to it.
Oh baloney!, my no-nonsense conscience kicked in. Quit skirting your parental duty. Tell your son what the very real risks are of playing these "jeux de stratégie de guerre". And certainly don't spare him the abominable example!
Without further soul-searching I blurted it out. "Max, did you hear what happened in Norway this weekend? Over 90 people, mostly adolescents, were gunned down and killed. Authorities listed the gunman's pasttime as 'war game enthusiast'!"
Right or wrong I had said it. Up to Max to make of it what he would. I only hope I did not offend him or, worse, cause him to believe that he could be anything other than the good-hearted boy that he is.
Sitting there feeling like a traitor, I searched for words. "To what good do these games lead?"
"But all of my friends play them!" Max objected. Next, he grasped for some far-out figure. "Sixteen hundred... thousand...million... kids play these games. Mom! They are not all going to end up mass murderers!"
I could not argue with Max's statistical logic. And yet... there is no using logic to answer the heart-renching question that haunts us in regards to innocent lives lost: Why? We ask. In the face of such disheartening news, how are we to react?
All we can do is make a fumbling first step to pick up the pieces in our own untidy front yard of the heart, and hope, in the process, not to overpolish, or dull the shiny brightness of an innocent soul.
Post-note: In all fairness, and in a sloppy attempt to redeem myself, I admitted to Max that les jeux video were not the only pastime of the gunman's. "Christianity" was another avid interest. Max looked at me sympathetically, and I knew he would never again tease me for my avid scripture-reading.
Share your thoughts about the news. Were you further shell-shocked by the death of Amy Winehouse? Any other news that is affecting you? Messages welcome here, in the comments box.
(Vocab section is under construction. Check back here, for the updated section.)
le plafond = ceiling
le peignoir = bathrobe
le jeu de course = race car game
Max, on peut parler = Max, can we talk?
aborder = to broach
le jeu de stratégie = game of strategy
le jeu de guerre = war game
la trahison = betrayal, treachery, treason
le jeu video = video game
P.S.: here is the book I mentioned, in the opening paragraph. It is too early to rate the novel, but I already want to lend my copy to all of the Francophiles and Writerphiles that I know!
In the golden summer of 1914, Jean-Marc Montjean, recently graduated from medical school, comes to the small French village of Salies to assist the village physician. His first assignment is to treat the brother of a beautiful woman named Katya Treville. As he and her family become friendly, he realizes they are haunted by an old, dark secret . . . but he can’t help falling deeply in love with Katya. Read customer reviews and buy the book here.
"Dog at half-mast" Photos (c) Kristin Espinasse
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.
Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.
Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
I think you are right to be concerned about Max's war games. Someone recently told me about a book that is called "The Brain that changes itself" - which in part suggests that the brain develops depending on the activities that we do!! The book is by Norman
Doidge and info is on the internet. Might be worth a read if you are concerned about the effect of war games on your son.
I'm a new 'reader'! I was looking for widget for my class blog. Now I am enjoying your thrice weekly wit and comments. Bonne Chance et Merci.
Posted by: annabel.garrad | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 11:47 AM
The way you keep kids from becoming the Norwegian madman is by keeping 'in touch' with your kids. You're doing right to approach the subject but I wouldn't worry. If you are concerned enough about the subject to actually approach it with your son, that is evidence you are already 'in touch' with him.
As for Winehouse, there is an old saying that 'you don't need to see the train coming. If you hear it, you know it's coming". In the case of Winehouse, we have heard that train coming down the track for a long time". No surprise that finally arrived.
Posted by: Larry | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 12:03 PM
I am a grandma now, but I remember when my children (a son now 40 and a daughter now 39)were the age of Max, I was very frightened about all sorts of things. We talked often about everything - nothing was out of bounds so don't every be afraid to talk to Max - he sounds like a very intelligent young man. My advice; respect each other and never stop talking.
Posted by: Colette | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 12:23 PM
Je suis d'accord avec Annabel. Keep the lines of communication open. That is what we as parents do have control over. Many similar worries over the same subject and all is well for my hardworking grown up son. No time for video games now for an independent film maker trying to make a go of it.
Posted by: Shelley Longmire | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Oops sorry. Meant tobe agreeing with Larry in comment just posted.
Posted by: Shelley Longmire | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 12:30 PM
La police enfonça la porte; le terroriste voulut s'échapper par le fenêtre, mais l'accès en était déjà bloqué.
The police broke down the door; the terrorist tried to escape through the window, but the way was already blocked.
L'honneur veut que vous obteniez une réparation.
Honor demands (requires) that you seek satifaction.
Posted by: gail bingenheimer | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 01:47 PM
Thanks for all your thoughtful insights into the Norwegian tragedy. Thanks, too, for the book recommendation which I have put on my list. I also just finished reading a novel that takes place in the same era in France, "The Last Summer of the World," by Emily Mitchell. Historical fiction centering on photographer Edward Steichen, his work during World War I and his personal life as well. Wonderful. Thanks again, Kristen.
Posted by: Cliff Flanders | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 02:16 PM
With all the horrors I'm the news lately, what I know is that you write on with courage and heart. You bring such welcome grace in the midst of chaos. With a mum like you, that boy has a secure future.
Posted by: jan Greene | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 02:21 PM
Of course, we are always concerned when we see a human being commit the crimes that were reported from Norway. I think the salient feature of the story is not so much the war games or even the extreme so-called christian conservatism but rather the point that the young man was cut off from his parents' influence at the early age of 16. The brains of human children, especially boys, are not fully developed until the mid to late 20's, and they need family involvement during the time they are still developing critical thinking. You don't really have much to worry about with Max.
Posted by: Mair | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 02:22 PM
Thank you for thinking of- and feeling with us Norwegians, during this tragic period of time. "En berne" was a new expression to me, so thanks for this post.
Posted by: Renate | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 02:22 PM
Oh my dear, I have been reading your blog for some time now and while gleaning a window into french life we are all witness to a loving family's growth. The terrorism in the world is not caused by such insubstantial things as video gaming - it is caused by hate and the propagation of the hatred towards those different than ourselves. Your children have been surrounded by love and good examples of inclusive/tolerant and accepting parents. They are growing into the wonderful caring people that we should all hope to be. Your time spend worrying about your children is unavoidable but (at least on this account) not necessary.
Posted by: Tammy | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 02:31 PM
My son also likes playing those XBOX war games. They are so realistic it's scary. I worried about him playing such violent games. I think if kids have other interests then they will be OK but if they are constantly playing and have no other interests I would worry. I think parents need to heed the age ratings on the games. I don't think young children need to be playing those realistic war games. Also we never know which children will be affected in a negative way by playing these games.
I am almost finished reading The Summer of Katya and I love it!
Posted by: Eileen deCamp | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 02:35 PM
I can't shake the illness I feel about this tragedy. My son plays those games sometimes, too, Kristin. When I read that this madman used those games for training I felt that this justified my ultimate desire to toss them all in the trash. But, this guy was obviously training in many other military ways and for a very long time. When our boys play these combat games they aren't setting out to settle a score with the world. There's the difference.
That being said, I'll have a look at that book Annabel mentioned and also continue to talk to my children about humanity and respect for others beliefs. Someone overlooked this shooters lack of humanity and this is also a huge part of this tragedy.
Posted by: Karen Whitcome | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 02:38 PM
I totally agree with all the above readers, whose advice is to stay in touch with your children, and communicate openly until they are mature adults ( actually, forever...I'm convinced communication and honesty are the keys to a happy life) And with you and chief Grape as role models, you have nothing to fear, both your kids are wonderful!
As for Norway, it's so shockingly sad because Norway is such a small, pacifist, and serene country, and this was such a horrific and random attack !
Unfortunately there are madmen everywhere, and we can only pray not to be at the wrong place at the wrong time ...and hug our children tighter every day.
Posted by: Suzanne Codi, Washington, DC | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 02:59 PM
I can relate to your concerns but I think the real problem is with obsession and isolation. The Norwegian man was a bigot and obsessed with his hatred of others. The fact that you have the kind of relationship with Max that makes it possible for the two of you to talk about issues like this suggests that Max will not become obsessed with anything, but instead, a well rounded thoughtful adult. I think it would be a mistake for parents not to talk to their children when something like this happens. My heart goes out to the parents in Norway who lost a child and to the families of everyone who were killed or injured.
Posted by: Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 03:05 PM
J'adore votre blog et les photos. Grâce à une amie, j'ai trouvé ce blog, plein de délices photographiques et de fortes histoires..merci! Anita
Posted by: anita rivera | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 03:33 PM
and yet.... we send our boys/girls off to war where they have to somehow switch off their respect for humanity to be able to kill in the name of their own beliefs.
Posted by: Karen Whitcome | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 03:36 PM
Hi, I, too, am saddened by the catastrophe of the slaughter in Norway and the publicity about the madman's beliefs. This kind of thing will promote more killings. I pray they say MORE about the man's mental illness and less about his radical beliefs.
About the book, The Summer of Katya, I felt a jab and an emptiness at the end of an otherwise well-written, engaging story.
Posted by: Tonya McNair | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 03:43 PM
I have been praying (and encouraging others to do the same) for the families of the victims of this tragedy. So senseless. Congratulations on your taking time to speak to Max about the event. No parent goes confidently into such a conversation, and it was brave of you to step up to the need. Love you.
Jeanne in Oregon
PS My ex-Navy husband informs me that it's "half mast" on a ship and "half staff" on land.
Posted by: Jeanne Robinson | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Tragedies happen and we want to point fingers and say "There's the reason this happened". We want to find something or someone to blame because that puts reason and order back into our shattered world. There are often so many of the proverbial straws that have led to the breakdown. One can search forever and not be able to identify the one thing that we feel could have prevented the sorrow. There is never just one thing. But we can take comfort in the love that we have for each other and the ways that we can have a small connection to those around us. And then we pray that that is enough to see us through - for now. Love deeply - as I know you do, chere Kristin.
Posted by: Candy still in SW KS (for 7 more days!) | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 04:03 PM
When Columbine happened I too felt I needed to talk with my son about what had happened. Like the two boys who committed these atrocious acts, my son wore a duster. My quiet, non-aggressive son looked at me the same way Max must have looked at you and pointed out that lots of people wore these coats, Harrison Ford, for example. and they were not inclined to kill anyone.
I know your reaction to the killings in Norway is normal for a mother. We can only sit back and quietly observe our children and pray they follow the right path. My son is 31 now and I still quietly watch just to make myself feel better.
Posted by: Sharon | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 04:35 PM
These truly are trying times. The little Hassidic boy, my grandson's age -8. Sad to have to deal with reality, but we must, all of us. your writing always a joy. Cynthia
Posted by: Cynthia Crane | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 04:46 PM
My grand-daughter has a friend who's Mother is from Norway. They are there now. We are hoping they were far from this.
On your reading recommendation, I am a hugh Trevanian fan from way back when "The Eiger Sanction" came out. I think I was in love with Johnathan Hemlock. I read "Summer Of Katya" when it was published. I think "Shibumi" was may favorite. He didn't write many books but they were good.
Posted by: Betty | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Many things came to mind as I heard about the tragedy in Norway this weekend; shock, sadness, disbelief, fear of the unpredictability of things. As a parent, it is hard to have children and try your best to send them to places where you believe they will be safe. The common thread here among all of these assassins does seem to be the isolation of the person and subsequent obsessions they develop. No one seemed to be around to talk, listen, discuss, and challenge their beliefs. I am a teacher in a high school in California that went through a school shooting. As a teacher and a parent, I remember what went through my head as I was trying to secure the door outside my classroom as bullets were hitting the window. My students were terrified, crouched on the floor behind their desks, and some were getting sick. My kids were also at school with me and I was praying for their safety. Events like this one in Norway bring back these memories. Just like the fellow in Norway, the killer at my school was an isolated, angry individual who got hold of a gun. Just like others have stated, I don't love those video games. However, I do believe that nothing in the world can replace the love and support of family and friends.
Posted by: Julie Schorr | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 05:57 PM
In his book, "Incognito," which I just finished reading (about the human brain, consciousness and perception), David Eagleman profiles Charles Whitman, who in 1966 shot at students and tourists from a tower on the University of Texas campus. He killed and wounded many people. Whitman was fully cognizant of the fact that he was having "mental turmoil" and "violent impulses" before committing this heinous act and had even spoken to a doctor about it. After his death, the medical examiner found that Whitman's brain harbored a tumor about the size of a nickel, which impinged on the hypothalamus and compressed the amygdala. The amygdala is involved in emotional regulation, especially as regards fear and aggression. "Along with the shock of the murders lay another, more hidden surprise: the juxtaposition of his aberrant actions and his unremarkable personal life. Whitman was a former Eagle Scout and marine, worked as a teller in a bank and volunteered as a scoutmaster for Austin Scout Troop 5. As a child he'd scored 138 on the Stanford Binet IQ test, placing him in the top 0.1 % percentile." (152-3) Of course, not all shooters have brain tumors, nor are they all raised by strict, harsh disciplinarians as Whitman was. The very small percentage of men who end up committing heinous acts such as these, often are the result of a unique combination of temperament and a certain type of nurturing. (And, occasionally, there is also a brain tumor!) Most boys and many girls play war games, or "soldier" or "knights" when they are young and very few of them go on to become cold-blooded killers. Having written all of this hardly alleviates the shock of what happened in Norway, nor the pain and suffering. Kristin, I admire the way you opened up a dialogue with Max, and I sincerely doubt that you need to be seriously concerned about your son who has been raised with TLC by you and your husband. But the very fact that you are a solid support system who would recognize a problem and then seek wider support brings great relief and I suspect it is the very (much needed) thing that is missing when men become cold-blooded killers.
Posted by: Judy | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 06:32 PM
I was in Norway for a few weeks this past May visiting friends. I was so glad to hear all friends and family of friends were okay. It did shake them to the core as they have lived a very peaceful life there. It will take a little time for them to feel safe again, but they will.
You do not have to worry about Max and the war games. You give him and your family so much love and support.
Posted by: Karen from Phoenix, AZ | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 06:36 PM
I try to live a quiet life, with my dogs, my writing, and the support of a few very good friends. Sometimes world events too horrific to ignore blast their way into my peaceful life. This weekend, there were 2 such events: the Norway bombings and the death of Amy Winehouse. Although they seem very different, their root cause is the same: Human frustration and rage with no outlet will either turn outward, as with the Norway bombers, or inward, as with Winehouse and her decidedly self-destructive inclinations. It is our blessing and our curse to be living in such tumultuous times.
Posted by: julianna | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 07:09 PM
Moi aussi, j'ai le moral en berne, tout en pensant aux évènements récents en Europe. I can very much relate to your worries about those violent jeux de guerre. I used to be concerned that my boys would spend hours to play them when they were teenagers. I did not buy those games but somehow they got them somewhere. Et pour te remonter le moral (sans E à la fin), they have turned into young responsible professionals. I think love and constant communication will guide Max and Jackie on the right path.
Posted by: Millie | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 07:21 PM
"They" say the war games are just that - games. I find them creepy. And even if they're not dangerous, they are such a waste of precious time.
Thanks as always for the thoughtful post, Kristin.
Posted by: G.M. Malliet | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 07:23 PM
I agree with much of what has been written above, and think talking to one's children about everything is crucial. And I've been thinking that now that my son is 20, it is time to take him to the Holocaust Museum.
It was interesting to me to read about the various forms of gun control in the Czech Republic and in Norway, such as the required shooting lessons. I think America could use more gun control than it has. I like to think that some of the controls kept the shooter's rampage from being worse than it was.
When the Columbine shootings happened, I was astonished to read that the parents of the young men involved "had no idea" what their sons were doing, that they had guns stored in the family's shed," etc. No wonder the kids were out of touch. Parents should respect their offspring's privacy for the most part, but need to be aware of how their kids are spending their time, sites they are visiting on the Internet, who their friends are, and so on - which can be demanding. I've read that in spite of what they may say, teens in particular really care about time with their parents and appreciate their values. I've made it clear to my son where I stand on many issues, so he will not wonder later about what is right or wrong.
Posted by: Marianne Rankin | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 07:26 PM
You asked if we were shell shocked by the death of Amy Winehouse. No actually I wasn't, early death is the often result of addiction.
Posted by: Brenda Brown | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 07:28 PM
So sad but so very true.
Posted by: Andrea Robinson | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 07:47 PM
There were no computer war games when my boys were growing up. Mad Magazine was their thing which I felt was mega sick. They thought I was nuts when I forbade it in the house.
Posted by: Anne Daigle | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 07:49 PM
My heart goes out to those in Norway, the country my father’s family is from. The mind is so very powerful and can justify horrendous, unthinkable acts when out of balance and vindicated by a feeling of being right.
I can relate to your concerns, Kristi. My mind jumps to such conclusions when I sense danger. If only…then I’d feel safe, etc. Though I now recognize the sensitivity of my nature and do not care for violent music, books or movies, as a teen I listened to heavy metal. It was blamed for violent acts. I do not have any scars to show from those years (maybe a loss of hearing!?), nor did I see it damage my friends.
None of us are who we are because of one thing, we are many-faceted. I thank God I was raised by good-hearted, loving parents who took the time to talk with and listen to us and that your children have this same blessing.
Posted by: Stacy, Applegate, Oregon | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 11:07 PM
When I heard the news of Norway, my thoughts went to my 12 year-old-grandson now enjoying time at camp and the horror of the loss of all those young children. Prayers with their loved ones.
Posted by: Debra Jordan | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 11:10 PM
The events in Norway are so sad, so unbelievable, it is hard to make sense of them. As I sit in front of my TV watching the grief stricken faces of the Norwegians, I can't begin to imagine the feelings of those parents whose teenagers were participating in something so wholesome and civic minded, and now will never come home again. These precious young lives....it is so hard to comprehend. It will take a long time to process.
On a happy note - we Aussies were thrilled to see our own Cadell Evans on the podium in front of the Arc de Triomphe after winning the Tour de France. We have been watching his progress every evening through the gorgeous French countryside.
Yet it feels wrong to celebrate when in the face of such a terrible horror as Norway when it feels almost like the clocks should stop ticking. Yet life does go on, happy events are celebrated and somehow, some time we all move on. Personally though I will never understand what motivates people to behave in this monstrous way.....
Posted by: Jill in Sydney | Monday, July 25, 2011 at 11:49 PM
Thanks for your comments about the War Games. Last week I asked my grandson to show me his X-Box and was stunned to see that he and his friends were controlling military figures shooting at each other. He said what your son said. I am still shocked - you know some of the people involved in real life murders talk about the skills they learned in these games. Then I went to see the new Harry Potter...am I the only person who thought it was extraordinarily violent. It might as well have been a Jason Bourne film. My daughter-in-law was very moved by it - perhaps I am just too old and out of touch.
Posted by: Cappy Warner+ | Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 12:18 AM
It is very natural what you felt and did Kristin. I too have one son and I know it is always good to have a direct conversation with you child. As everyone who has written have suggested. Your son sounds such a grounded person, so don't worry.
I thought you might like to know this---
we have a word for what we impart to our children and what they are suopposed to imbibe as human beings---it is 'samskara'. In broad terms it means values/compassion.
It teaches tolerance and acceptance of our natural diversity, with the central factor being that we are all 'Humans'--be it any from any country/colour/creed. This philosophy is very nicely explained in a book by William Dalrymple--'The City of Djins'. It says that a few blind men were asked to touch an Elephant and say what it was. One said it is hair(y), as he was touching the tail, the other said it is like tree trunk, because he was touching the legs and one said it flaps and is airy, so should be a fan, as he was touching the ears and so on. At the end of it they were told that it is an Elephant. They were just giving their take on it, because of the position they were standing in and touching whatever was closest to them.
The author was just telling us that all
'relegions/God' is one according to the Indian philosophy--we just worship it in our different ways.
If all of us taught our children to grow up as Citizens of our Planet, with pride and patriotism for the different regions we are born in---perhaps we would not have such horrifying things happening.
Posted by: Rina Rao. | Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 10:59 AM
Don't worry about Max. As he said, millions of people play these games, so apparently the odds that they'll turn someone into a mass murderer are one in a million.
I'm sure there are those on the loony left (I'm pretty far left in my politics (by US standards), but I recognize the existence of the loony left) who are saying that the shooter's right-wing politics and/or Christianity led to the shooting, but that's as specious as blaming it on the video games.
The man was obviously disturbed. Perhaps disturbed people are attracted to violent games or religion. But that doesn't mean either one causes the people to be disturbed.
The reason the man shot all those kids is that he's insane. Video games, right-wing politics, and Christianity did not make him insane, any more than riding the bus, drinking milk, or going to elementary school (all of which I assume he did) made him insane.
To echo what has been said here a bunch already, you and J-M seem to be doing a fine job raising Max. Barring the exceedingly, vanishingly unlikely prospect of a brain lesion or other physiological problem, he's going to grow up to be a fine man.
Posted by: Bruce T. Paddock | Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 04:55 PM
Religious fervor is more akin to psychotic delusion than playing war games. Kids gave been playing war games with sticks for centuries. But religious fervor has killed enormous masses of people. It's time to rethink not games, but the belief systems that are delusional and dangerous responses to our fear of mortality and our need for community. We can face our fear of death and connect with others without feverish delusions.It will take education and courage.
Posted by: Kate Horsley | Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 05:00 PM
Hello, Kristin. My question is a little off-topic, but spurred by your "on peut parler?" question to your son. Curious to know whether you find yourself speaking to your children in English, French, or Franglais, and whether they respond more in French than in English...I know quite a few bi-cultural families and am always intrigued by communication issues between parents and children. Love the blog...have been reading for 2 years!
Posted by: Emily | Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 05:19 PM
Hello Kristen, It is scary raising a child in this world.. I have one child, a 27 yr. old son who, right after High School signed up to join the US army just as Bush began the Iraq war. I am a PEACE activist and I never allowed violent movies or games in our home. Yet he could play them at friends homes. We had teen talks about "conscientious objection" and he approved of that. YET his close friend at age 18 talked him into signing up with the Army! I thought I was going to die when I heard this. I knew he would be sent to Iraq. and I knew that he, being an artist-musician who loved life, people, animals..he could never accept carrying a gun and hurting other humans. But he was brainwashed by the recruiters into thinking he would be sent to Korea and get lots of money, travel, college money etc. The truth is, they do not get what they are promised. If they survive the war, they come home injured physically and or mentally with PTSD. I just heard the sucicide rate for US soldiers returning home is higher than it has ever been. (18 PTSD suicides in the last month) SONY and other game and movie makers are commissioned and paid by the gov't to produce violent-war materials to sell to youth. It does de-sensitize them the more they watch this stuff. Then if they cannot afford college and are brainwashed to think the military is there only way to start their life, they fall right into step. The best things parents can do is educate their kids about this AND stop buying these horrible games and movies.
Luckily for my son and our family, the army could not accept him due to the migraine headaches he was getting. WHEW !!
You cannot imagine my happiness and relief.
Now, 8 yrs. later, he is a happy, healthy,
man and thanks me regularly, that he was raised in a peace-minded family and encouraged to find out the facts and think for himself.
Your darling children are so fortunate to have such loving, kind parents. You are right to keep the dialogue open with them and sharing your morals, and encourageing them to think about what they consume.
Warmest regards from Oregon,
Posted by: Lorna Peterson | Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 09:07 PM
What a shock!! I could hardly believe what I read about the killings in Norway. I immediately called many of my reatives and a friend there to see if they were O.K. and to find out more information than we were getting here in the U.S. My cousin was across the street in his car when the bomb went off. He is alive and after 3 surgeries the doctors say he is stable.
I also have family in Rena, where the house was rented, so I called them to see if they were all safe. They were, thankfully. Two years ago, I was in both places with those same family members, so even though I am physically far away, I still feel close at heart. We never know what tomorrow will bring.
It's important to do the parenting job well and I think you can use those teachable moments to underscore your values for your children. They will never forget it.
Thanks for sharing your life and stories,
Little Falls, MN.
Posted by: Karen Johnson | Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 02:13 AM
It's a fantasy of the New York Times that the Norway murder was a Christian.
Enjoy your column.
Posted by: Elmer Stoup | Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 03:18 AM