The news from the Ukraine has dominated the thinking of many of us over the weekend. The stark reality of this war makes this month’s value of cooperation all the more relevant and poignant. The history books often tell a different story of war to the propaganda at the time, and so may it be this time, yet President Zelensky’s social media videos from the heart of Kyiv are moving beyond words. Prior to his election less than three years ago, Volodymyr Zelensky was a comedian and actor, yet he has emerged as a convincing and brave leader of the Ukrainian people. His words and actions have been dignified and resolute, with his selfless dismissal of help to flee the country commanding worldwide respect. A truly brave example of leadership.
Parents, caregivers and teachers will be wondering how we explain this war, which contradicts our usual societal values of compromise and collaboration. Children we be seeing and hearing things about this crisis in the news, leading to anxiety and fear, feelings which will also be experienced by many adults. Save the Children recommend five tools and tips to help make difficult conversations about this crisis more manageable and helpful:
1. Make time and listen to your child. Find out what they know and how they feel – they may have a completely different view to you.
2. Tailor your conversation to the child. Older children and teenagers may be more anxious as they will often better understand the potential dangers associated with war.
3. Validate their feelings.
4. Provide reassurance that adults all over the world are working hard to try to resolve this
5. Give them a practical way to help.
At home and at school it is important that we let our children know that this is not their problem to solve. Yet whilst we encourage our children to go about their lives as normal, enjoying the things that make them happy, we perhaps do so today with an extra understanding of the importance of cooperation. Scenes from Wembley yesterday, where rival Chelsea and Liverpool fans stood united in their support of the Ukraine, and the coming together of people around the world in protest marches, offer hope that the pressure of worldwide peace initiatives will ultimately succeed.
In the weeks and months ahead, in line with our key aims, we will look for opportunities for our school to stand together with the wider world and support an end to this crisis.