Christchurch Shootings – a message from Graeme Budler

Dear KingsWay Community,

I am sure that by now you have heard about the recent tragedy in Christchurch. My prayers and thoughts are with the victims, affected families and the Christchurch community. While it will take a while to fully process the ramifications of this event, it is important for us all to respond appropriately now.

I was teaching at a boarding school when 9/11 happened and the students watched reruns of the event for the entire morning. In hindsight, this was a massive error of judgment as they were not emotionally ready to cope with an event of this magnitude. Many reported being traumatised long after the event.

Michelle Youngs (Head of Pastoral Care at KingsWay) has put together some professional advice to assist families when debriefing with their children.

The counseling team is also available next week if required:

• It is important to consider the impact on children witnessing the terrible events of the shooting in Christchurch today via the media. Children can, without us realising, internalise the fear and anxiety they see elsewhere. Be cautious of what they see and how often. The more they see the more likely they are to be impacted.

• Adults reaction, particularly parents, shape the response of children. This is an opportunity to calmly reassure children and while being real and authentic, guard against anxious responses that heighten fear in children. Instead, speak to your children about how sometimes bad things can happen to good people and that they are safe with you. If possible, pray together for those impacted.

• Some children and teens are more impacted than others by traumatic events. This may because of past events, personality and level of sensitivity. Find out how your child makes sense of this event and respond to how they, if at all, have been affected.

If your children use social media, please discourage them from watching or circulating the footage of the shooting as this, in my opinion, fulfills the intentions of the perpetrators of this heinous act.

Graeme Budler 
Executive Principal

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