PALM DESERT, Calif. - In the wake of the tragic shooting in Connecticut that left twenty children and six adults dead, parents face the difficult task of talking to their kids about the situation. Parents in the valley were emotionally struck when news of the shooting broke, many holding back tears. "I can't even imagine what would make someone do that," said Vanessa Vogt, who has twin 6-year old boys. She and many other parents were left in shock. "It's a nightmare that you never ever want to face as an educator and certainly as a parent you don't want that for your children," said David Sanchez, former president of the California Teachers' Association.
Parents also do not want the horrific images from Sandy Hook Elementary school to take a toll on their children. Lori Lira works as a child and family therapist in Rancho Mirage. She offers this advice to parents. "Not having the television on all the time, and inquiring from them, what they're thinking and feeling," said Lira. "Just doing a lot of listening."
Lira also says it is important for parents to keep a brave face in the wake of the tragedy. "Children feed off the emotions of their family members, and if they see their family members distraught, and emotional and scared for their safety, then children are going to feel unsafe," said Lira.
Melissa Brewster wants her students to feel safe. She teaches third grade at Desert Christian Academy in Bermuda Dunes. While Brewster worked to reassure her students, she understands the harsh reality the school must share with its students. "As much as we would desire to keep them safe and protect them, they need to know that those things do happen, we don't live in a perfect world," said Brewster.
DCA head of school Dave Fulton is also working to reassure the parents at his school. "Let our parents know that we care about the kids, and we're going to do everything we can to protect them and keep them safe," said Fulton. "But, that's hard to do sometimes, nobody can guarantee that."
While there's no guarantees, the shooting serves as a reminder for parents to cherish their children.
"I will appreciate my children more, that's for sure."
"It's appreciating every moment you have, every moment. Cherish every moment even when they're crying."
"Ask them to give their own kids a hug tonight and to pray for the parents who can't do that tonight."