As a parent I often struggle with how much my kids are exposed to via television, films, music, and really, life in general. My motto however, has pretty much been “more is better” in terms of explaining subjects they might question. I would rather be the one to give them the information they seek and not have them hear incomplete, exaggerated, sugar-coated details from the news or their friends. I am also quite comfortable admitting I don’t know something if they happen to stump me and we look it up and learn together. Well today I have to explain a whole lot more than I really want to, but I would be failing them if we didn’t have a conversation about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin and the judicial system in this country. This is not going to be an easy conversation, because a young man’s life was taken away and another man’s life will forever be defined by his actions. I don’t want this piece to be a political discussion or about my thoughts on that case, but more about parenting and sharing with our kids.
Meanwhile, the harder news that I am going to have to tell my kids is the report of Cory Monteith, the star and beloved actor from Glee, who was found dead in his hotel room. Monteith has struggled with addiction most of his life and had just last April admitted himself in to rehab for help. This is harder to share because the actor/character is someone my kids connected with every week on TV, they looked up to him and admired him and hoped to be a star like him one day. This is the opportunity to talk to my kids about drugs and alcohol. About addiction. About getting help. About my brother and his girlfriend who were both cut down in the prime of their lives as a result of their addictions. The sad bit is that my kids never knew their Uncle, so he’s always this “ghost” I refer to sometimes. The truth is the death of Cory Monteith will have more of an impact on them and hopefully on their futures. Ultimately this will be a discussion about the loss of two young lives, Trayvon’s and Cory’s, that could have and should have been prevented, and about how our choices may make all the difference.
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