For her first nine years, I sheltered the Daughter from watching the evening news, viewing it after she went to bed, or before she got up in the morning. Sometimes, I’d watch it while she was in the other room.
Turns out that she is preternaturally interested in these things. Moreover, she develops opinions about them that did not necessarily come from us. Ferguson, MO made her aware that it’s a little scarier being a black child in America than she previously thought. The death of Palestinian children during the conflict with Israel made her angry. And she has great antipathy for Russia’s Putin.
Sometimes, she shows off her knowledge. Last summer, she said to a friend, “Do you know what happened in Mali?” Her friend didn’t know who Molly was; it was a reference to a plane crash. During a manhunt for a cop killer in Pennsylvania, she was surprised that her friend from Pennsylvania was unaware of it.
It’s my fault. I was the kid who was watching Huntley-Brinkley on NBC News or Walter Cronkite on CBS News by the time I was ten. But the news seemed tamer when I was her age. Our involvement in Vietnam was still minimal. There was racial strife, but it seemed to be focused in the far-away South.
Now, there are ISIS/ISIL video executions; she didn’t see them – heck, I didn’t see them, but she was still aware of them, though not the first one until after the second one had taken place. Hundreds of girls are kidnapped in Nigeria. Several NFL players are involved with domestic violence.
She always DOES have the option of going away from the set, but she seems to have the peculiar notion that she should be an informed citizen. Where she got THAT idea, I have no idea.
One wants to protect one’s child, but I guess keeping her blissfully unaware is not an option anymore.