Thursday, October 14, 2010

Children learn from Chilean miners story

I came across an article by Christina Zdanowicz on titled, "Children learn from Chilean miners story." The article touched on how parents were using the news coverage of the rescue of the Chilean miners to teach their children lessons. One mother stated that she wanted her 3-year-old daughter to watch Claudio Acuna Cortes, the 26th miner, being raised to the surface. The mother wanted her daughter to see the miner's 2-year-old daughter crying as she waited for her father. "See that little girl? She has not seen her daddy for a long time. Could you imagine not seeing your daddy for a long time?" The woman's daughter said that the little girl on the TV looked sad and then asked for some paper and coloring materials and then drew a picture of the miner and his daughter. The little girl was crying in the drawing. The article went on to state:

"For the most part, it's not recommended that parents have kids watch news with them because there's so much bad news out there," said child psychologist Dawn Huebner, who has a private practice in Exeter, New Hampshire. "The visual images are so powerful for the kids. They stick more than just hearing it."

Huebner feels differently about the story of the miners, saying it's a "great idea" for parents to discuss the successful rescues, but they need to be careful about how they broach the subject. Hearing about how things can go wrong can often scare children, she said.

Even a 3-year-old understands the pain that a child suffers due to the inability to see a parent. Child Psychologists claim that the news coverage of the Chilean miner rescue can be used as an opportunity to teach young children about life. I wonder what my 4 and 6-year-old daughters would say? "I know how the miner's daughter feels because my sister and I haven't seen our daddy for over a year and we don't understand why."

The rescue of the Chilean miners is probably one of the greatest stories in my lifetime; a real miracle. Sometimes we lose perspective of what true feats of bravery and courage are. There are many underdog, feel good stories that leave a footprint in our lives. We often make movies about them. There's the small overachieving football player named Rudy who wanted to play for Notre Dame. There's the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team that had us believing in "miracles." The movie "Hoosiers" was based on the biggest underdog since David; the 1954 Indiana High School Basketball champs from Milan High School. These are wonderful stories and events but if the teams lost, they packed it up and went home. In Chile, losing was not an option. There was no "better luck next time."

The Chilean miner story should be used as a teaching moment for children and adults. The story has been compared to that of the Apollo 13 mission. It should remind us how our mortality sometimes hinges on bravery, ingenuity, and perseverance. It should also serve as a reminder that we shouldn't take our loved ones for granted because we never know what tomorrow may bring. I hope that the people who believe that my daughters are better off not having a father are paying attention to the children on TV who are crying because they want to see their daddies come out of the mine. They didn't get to see their fathers for 70 days. My daughters haven't seen their daddy for 421 days. Don't worry girls, Daddy will keep fighting to be your dad.

For more information on a loving father, check out Dan Brewington on

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