It’s the conversation every parent is having with their kids today.
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My seven-year-old daughter burst into tears yesterday afternoon. Because of the Sydney siege, her excursion to a Sydney beach, planned for today, had been cancelled.
“Why?” my daughter wailed to me. She’d been looking forward to it for a long time.
I wasn’t sure what to say to her.
I had spent the whole day with a ball of fear in my stomach. My husband was in a building that was in lockdown.
I was worried for him, but I was terrified for the people in the cafe. I kept checking the ABC website, over and over, hoping for a peaceful ending to the siege. I hadn’t mentioned anything to my daughter or my four-year-old son. But now I had to say something.
"Why? Well, something happened in the city today. Dad's building was in lockdown."
She understand lockdown. She'd had lockdown practice at her school.
"What happened?" she asked.
"Well, someone went into a cafe and wouldn't let anyone else go out."
"But why didn't the police just make him let the people go?"
I didn't really know how to explain that.
"But why can't I go on the excursion?" she pressed. "Our school wasn't in lockdown."
I told her that the school had made the decision. I told her that we would go to the beach in the holidays. I didn't say anything more.
I always try to answer my kids' questions honestly, but I'm careful not to go into unnecessary detail. My son, in particular, has a tendency to ask endless questions about death then start crying as the reality hits him.