How do we possibly explain this war to our kids?

Are you feeling scared, worried, and helpless that Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine could escalate from being a highly destructive conflict into something bigger? Given the size of this unhinged madman’s nuclear arsenal, if you’re thinking the situation could catastrophically trigger another world war, you’re not alone!

  On a personal level, I’m extremely concerned. I mean, on top of dealing with the negative effects of the pandemic and the ever-increasing cost of living, we are now having to cope with the rantings, ravings, and actions of a jumped-up little despot!

  As adults, we not only find ourselves trying to process and deal with a situation we thought was confined to our history, i.e. a full-blown war, but as parents, we also have to explain this illogical and highly unbelievable series of events to our innocent children. Of course we could simply turn off the TV/radio, and place a ban on all news bulletins. However, as most kids have mobile phones with access to social media and the internet, it’s likely they’ll still get their information – and when they do, it’s going to cause them a considerable level of anxiety.

  As we gain an insight into Putin’s depraved mind, it’s abundantly clear (to me anyway) that the former KGB agent is a full-blown crackpot who has lost his entire grip on reality. However, as the war remains contained in Ukraine (for now, and God love those poor souls) and hasn’t yet spilled into the rest of Europe, the focus is, quite rightly, being placed on helping the brave and innocent families fleeing their war-torn land. But what happens if the unthinkable happens and this volatile situation escalates further afield?

  We’ve all heard about the ‘one and a half hour’ exchange between French President Emmanuel Macron and Putin, where it was concluded that ‘the worst is yet to come’. Given that we can only imagine what that ‘worst’ will look like, I believe the time has arrived where we, as parents, not only need to address our children’s questions (should they have them), we also need to brace them as gently as we can, for the unlikely event of further military action.

  I mention this on foot of a reader (a primary school teacher) stopping me last week and, knowing I’m a grandmother, asking me how they could ‘deal with questions’ coming from the little minds sitting in their classrooms, all wanting to chat about ‘what’s happening’ in Ukraine.

  Bear in mind I’m not an expert, just a parent and grandparent who never, ever contemplated having to engage in this type of discussion with my teenage granddaughter, and who doesn’t have any answers whatsoever. As in, I’m winging it. Here’s what I suggested:

  Allow your child/teen to lead the conversation. Therefore, if they don’t mention it, don’t bring it up for the simple reason we must shield and protect them as much as we can for as long as we can. If they do ask, please make sure your response is both age and ability appropriate. By that I mean that if they’re younger than ten years, keep the conversation short – no gruesome details.

  If your child is a tween/teen, why not take part in some form of campaign as a family? Perhaps make a donation to an associated charity, or put together a hamper of supplies. If you, as a family, log onto such sites as redcross.ie or unicef.ie, you can get a good idea of what’s needed. You could also light a candle and pop it in the window to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine, or perhaps go to your local church/place of worship and say a prayer with your children.

  As Irish people are being urged to consider offering a spare room or a spare unoccupied home to a Ukrainian family fleeing the conflict, you could, if you’ve got a facility, log onto registerofpledges.redcross.ie, pledge a room, and ask your children to help you to prepare it for your guests.

Ordinary Polish people provide amazing support to Ukrainian neighbours

There is a large community of Polish nationals living here in County Roscommon. Indeed, I feel both proud and privileged to call some of them my friends. It is for that reason I couldn’t allow this week to go by without acknowledging the amazing humanitarian effort that ordinary Polish people are putting in to help the citizens of Ukraine.

   Ever since that dreadful day on February 24th, when Putin waged war on his neighbours, and in the following days, as the mindless thuggery continued to escalate on what is now an hourly basis, the people of Poland, God bless them, have been playing a blinder. The sheer kindness, willingness and compassion of ordinary citizens volunteering time, funds, homes, food, clothing, medical supplies, toys and emotional support to the families fleeing Ukraine is simply mind-blowing and the rest of Europe owes them a debt of gratitude.

  I’m not talking about the Polish government or Polish authorities here. I’m talking about people on the ground in Poland, ordinary decent people who’ve rallied together to provide humanitarian aid – much of it out of their own pockets. I’m talking about local charities who’re not receiving any government support, but are unselfishly stepping up to the mark to help the thousands of families like their own who arrive into their country on a daily basis, many bringing their pets (which, as an animal lover, I think is absolutely amazing).

  It appears that in a time of crisis, it’s the good citizens of Poland, and not their so-called ‘bad boy’ government (which, I must acknowledge is also providing substantial help), who’ve opened up their hearts, homes and wallets to those who seek not just shelter and safety, but support and solidarity too. I for one salute them. As a nation which still bears the scars of Russia’s aggression, Polish people have responded in their thousands with acts of enormous generosity and solidarity.

  The world, as we know it, has changed forever in the past few weeks, thanks to the exploits of one diminutive, demented, dictatorial megalomaniac.  Everyone is terrified, and while nobody knows what’s going to happen next, what we do know is that it’s likely that our lives here in Ireland, and the lives of our fellow Europeans will possibly change forever. To be honest, as I write, for me, Putin’s merciless attack on our fellow human beings has ignited reminders of Cromwell and his invading savages arriving on our shores back in 1649; the result of which was a blood-thirsty, murderous campaign of genocide against our people. 

 

The Kerry Katona show rolls on…

Having twice declared herself ‘bankrupt’, former Atomic Mutton – sorry, Kitten – ‘singer’ Kerry Katona has revealed she’s ‘a millionaire once again’ due to selling topless pictures of herself on OnlyFans, a website where people (mainly women) sell a barely sanitised selection of, well, home-grown pornographic images of themselves.

  The husband rustler – correct me if I’m wrong, but last time I looked wasn’t Kezza planning to marry hubby number four? – has claimed the ‘uptake in demand’ for her sexy snaps has been so good, she’s now living it large in an ‘amazing home’. Not only that, her kids are back in ‘private education’ and she’s splashed out on a ‘lavish Lamborghini’! Ah sure why not! I hope it all works out for her.

  As Kerry has lived most of her life on reality TV, I would have met her many times when I worked in TV production. To be honest, I was once very concerned that the woman who seems to court catastrophe was a victim of her so-called celebrity status (or disgrace)! However now, given she has commodified not just her own privacy, but appallingly, the privacy of her five children, I believe this very pretty and extremely clever wheeler-dealer is really a master manipulator at exploiting her life! I wish her well.