What a World!
The newspapers have far too many pages dedicated to obituaries. As the pandemic surged, my local paper responded to the emotional devastation plaguing the region by printing expansive notices about these beautiful people.
Lives were reduced to three by eight pieces of newsprint. As admirable as this reportage was and is, how can a life be summed up in such a manner? What I read showed the utterly profane randomness of the disease. Front line workers succumbed to it as did homemakers, millennials, the elderly in staggering numbers. Ravaged families trying to cope found facts, rumors and predictions constantly changing within hours. Admirably, palpably the writers of the notices were able to express the dignity of grief borne by family and friends. John Donne’s poetry spoke then as now to the reality of the day: Never ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.
After these months of loss after loss, of tears upon tears, of restriction upon restriction, of need upon need, of fear upon fear, how can The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation ask parents and guardians to consider talking to children about decision making, about risky decision making at a time like this?
Simply put, there be monsters out there.
In 2005, Margo Gardner and Laurence Steinberg published a paper concerning risk taking.
They wrote: Analyses indicated that (a) risk taking and risky decision making decreased with age; (b) participants took more risks, focused more on the benefits than the costs of risky behavior, and made riskier decisions when in peer groups than alone; and (c) peer effects on risk taking and risky decision making were stronger among adolescents and youths than adults. These findings support the idea that adolescents are more inclined toward risky behavior and risky decision making than are adults and that peer influence plays an important role in explaining risky behavior during adolescence.
Psychologist Kendra Cherry says that bad decision making can sometimes result from a person being too optimistic.
How often do adults comment on the belief children have in their own immortality? Katherine Hawley, a professor at St. Andrews University in Scotland, published an article in Psychology Today (12/18/20) titled Who Can You Trust When Making Risky Choices? The author noted During the pandemic, the riskiness of everyday life has been magnified and become impossible to ignore. As I have said before, I shudder to think to what degree of freedom from prolonged confinement and supervision children will feel entitled after the eventual return to normalcy.
Further she writes, Decisions about risk require two kinds of input. We need information about how safe or dangerous various activities are, about the possible consequences if things go wrong, and about how likely these are. Kind of our job as adults, isn’t it?
The delivery method of education has radically changed these past months. Parents and guardians throughout the country have raised concerns about loss of skills in various areas. Additionally, parents worry over the emotional stability of their children.
A Nevada county school district recently reinstated in person learning after 18 suicides by students rocked the schools. Parents and guardians speak of their children losing the joy of engagement in their young lives. Having to deal with these and the health and economic burdens carried by so many daily, is it any wonder that being a parent today is no easy calling? Please, please, remember, our organization has your back.
Carlie Brucia died seventeen years ago, February 1, 2004. I recently read for the first time the poem, On Children, by Khalil Gibran. I read these lines and wish to share them: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself…And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts… You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. Carlie Brucia died seventeen years ago, February 1, 2004. She would have been 28 years old. Requiescat.