Comforting Our Neighbors
The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College extends our deepest sympathy to those affected by the tragic events in Squirrel Hill on Saturday. As our community here and across the world continues to grieve the tragedy and look for ways to heal together, we are reminded of the words Fred shared about loving each other well: “How do we make goodness attractive? By doing whatever we can to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own — by treating our neighbor at least as well as we treat ourselves and allowing that to inform everything that we produce. We all have only one life to live on Earth…we have the choice of encouraging others to demean this life or to cherish it in creative, imaginative ways.”
Throughout the weekend, we have seen people coming together in Fred Rogers’ neighborhood of Squirrel Hill and in neighborhoods across the globe to bring courage to one another and to cherish life.
In the words of Fred Rogers and his mother, we are reminded to “look for the helpers” in times of crisis and sadness. This weekend in Pittsburgh, we did not have to look far to see the helpers. In the coming days and weeks, here are a few suggestions from the life and work of Fred Rogers for families and children that may help us all manage our sadness and anger.
- When children feel angry and afraid, it helps them to “look for the helpers” so that they can see that there are people who will help keep them safe.
- Children need to know that it is alright to feel sad, angry or afraid, and that talking to a grownup can help them feel better.
- When possible, limit children’s (and our own) access to televised reruns of the event. Children may have a hard time distinguishing between what is real and pretend and what is happening in real time versus what is a repeat of past events. They may think that there is more than one event or that it continues to happen.
- Children often seek outlets for their anger and fear. Drawing about their mad feelings and playing about their fears is one way that they express themselves. Using a puppet to talk about things can sometimes make it easier.
- Spending time together as families and community can be a healing experience, so take some time to be together with family, friends, and neighbors.