The possibility of nuclear war feels stronger now than in a long time. I’ve been wondering how it’s affecting my children. So I asked. I started with my 12-year-old daughter. I explained that the threat of nuclear war used to keep me up at night as a child in the Cold War.
“You’re that old?” she responded, genuinely astonished.
Half laughing, half annoyed, I said, “It wasn’t that long ago.”
“I thought it was in the 1920s,” she said.
“It started around the ’50s,” I explained, “but it was still going strong in the ’70s and ’80s.”
“With all that’s going on in the news, you’re not worried about it?”
“No. If I know a nuclear bomb is coming at me, I’m going to stand at the window and look out. If I’m going to die, I might as well die seeing something beautiful.”
After dinner, I asked my 15-year-old son. “Not much you can do about it,” he said. Darn his grandpa Paul. I’ve often told the kids that his philosophy was “There’s never anything to worry about, because you either can do something about it (in that case stop worrying and do something) or you can’t (in that case, worrying is a waste of time because it doesn’t change anything).”
What about an active shooter situation, I asked them both. Surely that concerns them. But no, they both explained that they knew what to do in that case, so again, they’ve done what they can and there’s no use worrying further.
But then somehow our conversation turned to other big issues. Sexual harassment. And the equal treatment of minority groups and what does that mean exactly. Does equal treatment mean a squad leader has to put less qualified people on his squad to have diversity? It gave my husband and me the chance to talk about our values. I explained that while you might not always want to pick a less qualified individual over a more qualified person for diversity sake, you do want to make sure that everyone is given the support and opportunity to become the most qualified. And it went on and on. We had to shoo them off to bed.
Afterward, the conversation continued between my husband and me, particularly the sexual harassment issue. We both came away from it saying we felt the other one understands us better now.
That night, I went to bed mentally exhausted but feeling optimistic and content. If that nuclear bomb comes for us, I’ll be at the window, too.
Pamela Hayford is a mother of two and editor of Southwest Florida Parent & Child magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook (swflparentchild) or Twitter (@swflparentchild).
SW FL Parent & Child
The December issue of Southwest Florida Parent & Child magazine is available online and at family-friendly locations throughout Lee and Collier counties. Inside, you’ll find numerous ways to wrap your family in holiday cheer. You can read about kids who give back to the community, get ideas for cool wrappings and stocking stuffers, make gifts from your kitchen and find lots of fun holiday events. Learn more at swflparentchild.com.
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