Kids watch a lot of TV

And often it is on in the background, all day long.

So this morning, during Reading Meeting, one of my kids (8, 9 and 10 year olds) asked about the situation in Washington, DC. He wanted to know why there was so many angry people.


We talked about the fact that angry and upset adults sometimes don’t choose an appropriate way to express their anger, and that it’s okay to have anger, but we need to “use our words” and avoid hurting others even if we are very, very upset or mad. 

Kimamana (her name means “Butterfly” in Dakota) is usually  an introspective participant in our class discussions who tends to think a lot before she adds to whatever we’re talking about. She said,  “First, my grandmother gets COVID. Then, we can’t go to school. Then police keep killing people. Now, grownups are being bullies with guns. Do you think it’s going to get worse?”

Followed by Ihanbda worrying, “Are they going to come to here like the Covid did?”

Ihanbda then added, “My dad said they put bombs out there, too. I live way out in the country. Do you think the bombs will come out here?”


We do talk about bullying a lot, and about how to handle our “big emotions” in ways that can help us and don’t hurt others. That’s just part of life as a third or fourth grader. My students almost all have video games in which they “bomb” and “shoot” other players, so I’m sure they have some graphic images in their heads. Plus, there’s no shortness of violence on TV and even in real life out here.

It’s good I could affirm that “they” are not going to come here “like the Covid did”…. and that the bombs are not coming here either. 

Still, it’s sad to have to remind kids that sometimes (often, if you watch a lot of TV), adults have not yet learned to deal with feeling mad or sad in ways that don’t hurt others. And, it’s sad that our country’s president offers an example of an adult who has not yet learned about bullying… who sometimes chooses “friends” who are not very friendly…. and who doesn’t yet know how to deal with losing. 

We didn’t even get into “inciting a riot” or staff members who need to quit because their workplace in the White House or in the Capitol building are so toxic. 

Teachers of elementary kids tend to teach a lot about how to be a “good problem solver,” in part because these kids often find themselves dealing with problems that kids shouldn’t have to deal with. So, we also spent time talking about how the problem (of bullying, of breaking into other people’s houses, of being unable to manage feelings of anger without hurting others, etc.) could be solved. I am tempted to send the list to our federal legislators:

How could they solve this problem?
  • They should just cut it out.
  • Their kunsi (grandma) should send them to their room to think about it.
  • Maybe they should hit a pillow when they get real mad. That’s what my mom said to do.
  • If you gotta break stuff, just go behind the garage and throw some rocks into the woods because nobody gets shot then.
  • He (President Trump) should talk to my auntie because she can help him stop (bullying).
  • They shouldn’t do stuff that breaks fences and windows. Just get … get a drink of water and go lay down for a while.
  • Maybe they (the crowds of angry people) were having a bad day… they gotta get a big breath and start over again.
  • They should always wear a mask. (She had noticed that the people in the angry crowds were not masked.)
  • I would tell them to try to talk it out and maybe their grandpa or grandma can help them get over it with talking. 
  • They (the Capital Police) should get a no hitting and no bullying sign. And, tell them (the crowds) to stop it.
  • I think the president should go live with someone else for a while until he learns how to do ohoda (respect). And he can bring all his friends with him to learn too.
You know what? I think I **will** send these in a note to our Congressman and Senators. It can’t hurt.