So way back when (in 2012) when the Khevster was 7 years old, I had written this article about how letting young kids watch the news was probably more detrimental than not. It was a good article and it was lost, along with many others when my first domain went down. It talked about how young children didn’t have the maturity to put lots of news about crimes in perspective and how we as parents needed to protect them from the stress that caused. Fast forward to today, when the child in question is no longer seven, but 12, almost 13. Current events, aka ‘the news’ is sometimes required. Especially with the current president and in today’s climate, I try not to watch the news at all, but especially not around my 12 year old. However, there are days when we walk in and the television is on for the benefit of the dogs (listen, they destroy 70% less shit when the tv is on for them during the day) and it’s on ABC News a ‘reputable’ news source. And I just let him watch and it’s a disaster. The stories are all about terrible things happening. We are watching a story about a young white man who has been arrested for driving around and killing people because they are black. And his adorable little face is in this weird state of shock. We don’t talk and the next horrible story and the next come on, still, we don’t talk.
After that is a story about the 7.1 earthquake in Mexico and I say something along the lines of, we should donate, people won’t be as eager to raise funds for those people as they were natural disasters here in the US (aka hurricanes, Harvey, Irma, Jose, etc.) And my child says, there’s a lot of natural disasters happening and a lot of them seem to be related to weather, right mom? What do you think, global warming? I say yes, global warming is probably to blame. Then my bitterness gets the better of me and I let’s hope the assholes that don’t believe in global warming start to get it, right? There’s a pause and he says… (get ready) there are still people that don’t believe in global warming, really? Like who? And before I can stop myself I contemptuously say, well the “president” for one. He is in disbelief now. Finally he says, “the world is a really messed up place, mom”.
And I start to feel guilty because, although the world is a messed up place, I want him to understand that progress has been made, two steps forward, one step back and he, as a straight A, engineering student from Brooklyn is an integral part of it all. So I say, yeah, it is. But it’s so much better than it used to be. Listen, people who would intimidate black people hang nooses from our tree lined Brooklyn neighborhoods, but there’s no bodies hanging from them. Also, the likelihood of you being kidnapped off the street in a major metropolitan area by a complete stranger are the lowest they’ve ever been in America. Also, bullying is a discussion that we have along with many other discussions that in the past were not a dialogue, they were just shitty things that happened to you. We talked for about an hour and then he finished his ELA homework which consisted of reading a story. And he finished and looked up and said, mom, this story is horrible!! It’s about this planet where the sun only shines once in… I cut him off. “Don’t,” I said, “not that Ray Bradbury story, about the little girl locked in the closet….”
“You read it?” he asks.
“Yes, when I was a little younger than you. It horrified me too. Do you think it could happen that way now?”
He thinks about it and says, “Probably not, at least one kid would’ve been nice.”
“Yes,” I said, “at least one, maybe more in this day and age. But back then 96% of people were assholes, as opposed to maybe 74% now. This story was necessary and still to this day being assigned in schools.” He shook his head. We moved on. And I helped him with a math question. (I believe I hear laughter, may be my sister or another son). Yes, I really did help him with his math homework as it related to a banking question. Hah! And fuck the mainstream news media, we are intelligent enough to find out what’s going on in the world without relying on conglomerates owned by rich, old white men who would (try) to control the narrative.