Thursday 10 November 2016


The concept of exaggeration can be a tricky one to manage and explain to children like mine. It's been a hard news year in that regard, what with Trump and Brexit. As much as I've tried to temper the news with realism it's been a year of bold statement, exaggeration and hyperbole. 

             Hyperbole  - 'Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally'

This year what is hyperbole and what is actual truth has been very tricky to distinguish.  Tensions were high, and that's just me, for Flossy it's been off the scale. Strange thoughts filtered through 'there's going to be world war three you know' being one. Explanations were met with her glazed eyes and the nuances of rhetoric, propaganda and hyperbole are pretty useless agains the logic of the boy she sits next to in literacy who knows for fact that Donald Trump is going start a nuclear war because his dad said so and he saw it on the telly.  

The girl's hypervigilance always choses danger over safety no matter how wrong that perception is to me and regardless of how watertight my explanation is. As a rule she'll believe anyone over me.  Its a feeling not a thought. 

That boy is telling the truth, we are all going to die if DT is president.

The day of the result and tensions were running high, he'd won, we drove to school and listened to the news  on the radio, realising my mistake I turned it off. She asked for it to be back on and fortunately a measured and calm correspondent said it was all going to be ok. 

We listened and I said I wondered what was going to happen, she confessed to wondering too (we don't talk about being worried, that starts fights).  

'But' she said, 'I think that man on the radio's right, it'll be ok', I nodded and agreed 'yeah I think so too.'.

She jumped out and meandered into school and a new radio commentator came on, he didn't think it was going to be all right, in fact he was pretty damn sure it was the end of the world. I tried to believe he was wrong as I started digging my bunker.


  1. It's funny, I have very clear memories of being afraid of nuclear war as quite a young child. I saw 'When the Wind Blows'. There was a lot of Cold War talk. I remember standing with my Dad looking out at the expansive view from our kitchen window while he explained what would happen if a nuclear bomb dropped on Manchester (apparently we might be lucky enough to be killed by the initial blast, but if not would die slowly from radiation poisoning in a blasted landscape). Me and my primary school friends used to discuss what we would do if we got the "four-minute warning". My answers mainly involved eating as much chocolate as possible. All of our answers betrayed a childish lack of awareness of how long four minutes actually was. The world didn't end then. I suspect it won't now. Cold comfort for the little ones discovering for the first time that quite a lot of the grown ups don't know what they're actually doing. Even worse for our little ones who have already learned that and don't need it reinforcing at all.

    1. I think we're of the same vintage. I remember this and threads and feeling a genuine and palatable sense of imminent destruction. We appear to have lived through it. I often think of my mother a toddler in a world where bombs were being dropped in her town during WW2. We're not doing that bad I guess.

  2. I unsettled mine by swearing at the computer as I heard the news! Not brilliant of my. But made it our topic for the day, a bit of newsround, then lots of calm colouring of US maps and then folding them up to demonstrate fractions and percentages. Think it helped take control of the news. Rounded off by the Trump Clinton version of the John Lewis ad! So tricky sharing news stories and finding the balance of helping them be aware, but not burdened. Been reading 'The day my father became a bush', which has been helpful to talk about the refugee children. (Hushabyemountain)

    1. We constantly have to be a step ahead of them all the way. You appear to be much more creative than me!