Saturday, December 23, 1972.
A magnitude 6.2 earthquake occurred in Managua, Nicaragua at a depth of approximately 3 miles leaving about 5,000 people dead, 20,000 injured and 250,000 homeless. In the aftermath, people suffered greatly through food shortages, disease and fires that were fed by hot, dry winds.
According to Wikipedia, that is.
I don't remember it myself. Because I was a toddler. I guess my parents didn't think it was necessary to sit down and discuss natural disaster and human suffering with their almost two-year-old. Obviously their gross negligence in this matter contributed to the mental instability and unfounded fears I'm dealing with in adulthood. Had they but sat me down and explained the destruction...had they instructed me on how to put a name on my emotions and properly deal with my concerns regarding global welfare...well....
Just think of how differently I could have turned out.
I could have turned out completely NORMAL.
Don't blame my parents, though. They did their best with the meager parenting resources available to them back in 1972. After all, Ann Pleshette-Murphy had not yet appeared on Good Morning America with her groundbreaking article on "How to Talk to Your Children About Disaster."
So clearly, my parents had no idea how they should deal with the topic. They probably went about their daily business, pretending as if nothing had happened, acting as if I would never know.
I'm feel certain that had they known better, they would have sat me on the sofa and discussed the earthquake with me in terms that I could understand with my limited language skills. (I mean, I WAS almost two!) They would have provided me with appropriate literature on overcoming fears. They would have provided me with a night light. They would have encouraged me to comfort my teddy bear.
Thank heaven that we have such valuable knowledge at our fingertips and on our televisions these days. I have graciously provided you with the link to Pleshette-Murphy's online article so that you won't make the same mistake my mom and dad made. You can follow her advice to the letter. You don't have to stifle her emotional growth by ignoring such upsetting matters.
Go get your toddler now. Make her stop throwing Cheerios in the toilet. Tell her to put down the sippy cup. Pick her up and put her in her high chair so that she can look you in the eye comfortably. And then, have her relate her feelings on natural disaster. Help her find ways to cope with the emotional trauma.
I'm so glad that my own children never had to experience human tragedy when they were small. Now that they're older, sure, I can explain things...but when they were three??
Wait. Hold on a minute. When my twins were three years old, a couple of airplanes flew into the Twin Towers. When my twins were three, all air traffic over our country was shut down. We went to WAR. Oh my.
My babies NEVER NOTICED!
Well...no...I take that back. One of them did stumble past the tv and ask, "Plane, Mommy?? Airplane fall?"
And I said something like, "Yes, baby, the airplane fell down. It's ok."
Then he went back to torturing his brother.
No wonder my children are so socially unacceptable.