Because of the bombing at the Boston Marathon, organizers of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon say it's normal for people — especially children — to be anxious about the April 28 race in Oklahoma City.
They have been distributing to parents and teachers a handout with suggestions from Dr. Robin Gurwitch, a child psychologist that works with the Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum on various projects, on how to deal with children about their fears.
“Part of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum's mission is to teach our children that the world holds far more good than bad,” said Kari Watkins, executive director of the memorial and museum.
“Send a positive message and let your family know the marathon's highest priority is the safety of all runners. We are confident the appropriate safety measures are in place.”
Among the tips offered to parents by Gurwitch include:
*Don't let your own fears be contagious. Process them with your peers, not your students or children.
*Give a positive message. Don't say, “I'm worried, too, but we just need to get over our fears.”
*Let children share their thoughts and feelings with you. Don't ask them if they are scared or afraid about running the race. Say, “Tell me what you think about running in this race.”
*You cannot promise them that nothing will happen. Let them know that there are people, police, fire, all kinds of helpers whose job it is to do everything they can to make the run as safe as it can possibly be.
*Teachers, parents, caregivers, family members and friends should be encouraging. Tell children that “I strongly believe that this run will be safe for you. Everything that can be done to keep the race safe is being done. I support you in running this race.”
*Remind them to watch out for each other and to tell an adult if they are worried about anything.
*Their message can be, “I'm running to show there are more good people in the world than bad people, and violence doesn't win.”
*Be vigilant and not fearful.