Discussing the tragedy of the war

Author: Erik De Soir; photo by Karolien Coenen

Author: Erik De Soir; photo by Karolien Coenen, www.karoliencoenen.be

For several weeks now, images of war have been a daily presence in our homes and we have been overwhelmed by the news of the fighting in Ukraine. It is not only war journalists and diplomats who are involved, but everyone is now a participant in the war that is taking place in Europe and threatening us all. Up to a few weeks ago, for most of us this was unthinkable! This war has generated a new influx of refugees and many of our fellow citizens are preparing to assist refugees and war victims once again and even take them into their homes. Many questions arise as to how to discuss the war with children.

Set out in the document below are ten practical tips on how to talk to people who have fled the war, left everything behind, and need to be accommodated in a foreign environment.

Important in the end: don’t forget yourself… It is important that, together with the people you host, you get into a new kind of routine. It is not an easy thing to suddenly take people you don’t know into your home. There is an adaptation process on both sides, which requires ongoing dialogue in order to achieve a mutual frequency of communication over time.
Try not to get bogged down in compassion or sympathy; be kind and compassionate, but do not underestimate the impact of sympathy while maintaining hope and optimism for the future. And just because you have refugees in your home does not mean that you can no longer do anything alone with your own family. You need these moments as a buffer and an opportunity to recuperate in between the time you devote to caring for the refugees suffering from shock that you have in your home or with whom you work.

Manu Steens

Manu works at the Flemish Government in risk management and Business Continuity Management. On this website, he shares his own opinions regarding these and related fields.

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