How do we talk to our children about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School? What conversations did we have with them in the days after the Newtown shooting? Yahoo News asked parents to share their personal stories and perspectives.
FIRST PERSON | My children know about death, but in their lives, only the elderly have died. They are 6 years old, in first grade, and their happy photos resemble those of the lost. We live in a small town south of Santa Barbara, Calif.
I sat them down and told them I needed to talk about something serious, something sad. They listened as I explained about the children that died: "First-graders in a town across the country were killed Friday while we were still asleep. A man came into their school and shot them with a gun."
They were confused and asked if we knew any of them. I told them no.
They asked if the man was bad. I told them I didn't know, but the police thought he was sick, and that what he did was bad.
They asked if the children became stars. I told them yes; that each child was a new star in our sky.
I reminded them that guns are not toys, that we don't kill people because we can. My son responded, "Guns are for protecting our family."
I asked them what they would do if someone came into their school with a gun.
My son said, "Mr. Madrigal [the principal] would stop them and Mrs. Parker [his teacher] would help."
My daughter agreed and added, "Mrs. Munizich [her teacher] too. And I would take my friends and hide."
I told them they are brave and have brave teachers.
I cried, they patted my shoulder and gave me kisses.