I try to strike a balance between honest and age-appropriate when I tell him these real-life horror stories (like the Boston Marathon Bombing and September 11th, as shown below), and with a natural sense of empathy, he internalizes these things. In general, though, he's a very optimistic child with a big heart. I think he can afford to be so because he processes the darker side of life through drawing and telling elaborate stories. How terrifying it must be to be a child, and not to know yet what's real and what's not and that there really are scary things out there.
|The Boston Marathon Bomber, a "monster holding a bomb." The bomb is the blue blob with a yellow-and-blue blob on top in the monster's right hand. I did not call the man a monster; he did.|
|September 11th, with "kids crying and worried about their mommies in the tower, and a monster about to push the tower over, and a superhero coming to save the mommies, and they're saying, 'HELP!'" I did not add these details to the story.|
I do believe in the therapeutic powers of art-making, the simple healing act of expression, and I've long harbored ambitions (among my collection of ambitions) to help other people find that power. At least I can start with my own children.