Connor has become a newspaper reader. For years, we sheltered the children from news - going so far as to never have even NPR playing in the car or home when they were around. When something scary happened in the world, we would wait to discuss it until evening. On the rare occasion that someone came home with information we would've preferred they didn't have, we'd suss out what the child knew, explain it in as simple a term as possible, remind the child they were safe, and we'd pretty much all move on.
Connor is 10. In the past ten years, wars were raging outside our home. Black men were being gunned down by police as if for sport. Coalitions fighting economic injustices were camping outside the White House. The economy collapsed. Housing prices rebounded, at least partially. Children went to school one morning in Newtown and never returned home to their moms. The finish line at the Boston Marathon exploded. The day Connor came home from first grade asking about 9/11 was one of many days my heart broke. What good was this information to a first grader?But in our house, one day was pretty much like the next. Love wins. Treat people kindly. Stop bickering with your sibling. Dinner is served.
But there's a point in life when your child seeks information, and resisting giving it to him will only make it more coveted. And that point has come. We are now subscribers to the Washington Post (I like the NYT better but I figured the local angle in the Post might interest Connor). Connor, in his typical consumer of words mindset, attempts to devour as much of the paper as possible.
It's a real change to have a 10 year old commenting on current events in our house. But I guess I should just celebrate the last 10 years as a victory and get over it. I suspect for the next few years, much of parenting will be learning about how little I'm able to protect my children from the outside world.