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Dear Webby
Kids want to help
Katrina Victims

Dear Webby,

My teenage daughter and ten year old son feel I am a bad person. We have been watching the coverage of the hurricane and flooding. My husband and I have sent what we can afford (and then some) to help.

They feel we should take survivors into our home. We do not have a spare bedroom but they want to turn the family room into a bedroom.

We are not wealthy and live payday to payday. I am a stay-at-home mother with 2 younger children still not in school. I am always worn out.

My daughter is hardly talking to me. I want to teach them compassion but don't see how we can do this.

Torn Mother

Dear Torn,

You should be very proud of the job you and your husband have done in teaching your children love and compassion.

When we watch a disaster unfolding on television hour after hour, we feel guilty sitting in our comfortable home. Explain to your children that most of the survivors do not want to come up here so far from their home base, relatives and friends.

Also you do not have the proper space or resources to take in others.

Suggest that they and their friends find a way to make money for the victims and send it to a reputable charity. Remind them that prayers are needed for them.

On another note do not let them watch the coverage 24/7. Get them interested in other things as well. Non-stop coverage of wars, disasters and even everyday tragic news can be overwhelming to even the most jaded adults - let alone young children. See if you can get them involved in some lighter activities as well.

Webby thinks it's great to be suggesting lighter, recreational things to such young people rather than the standard "stick to the books" and "buckle down."

You are indeed very very fortunate people and the world needs more of you.

You should also realize that what they are suggesting is not only from compassion but built-up emotion. In a month of doing without and sharing in such close quarters they would again hate you for getting them into this predicament.

It's all part of being a parent so don't take it too seriously.


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