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In Evan Almighty, last summer's comedic take on the Noah's Ark story, newly-minted Congressman Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) gained his seat with the slogan "Change The World." Plans go a bit awry when he is asked to co-sponsor a bill to allow development of national park land, yet not is all lost when the Almighty (Morgan Freeman) directs him to build an ark. He does, and animals show up two-by-two. It's the humans that take a lot longer to get on board -- Evan's family is befuddled and his colleagues bewildered by his odd behavior. It's easy to laugh along when birds flock to Evan's Congressional hearings, but his family soon loses faith, certain that he's having a mid-life crisis. Carell plays the modern-day Noah with a bemused resignation that made us wonder whether the Biblical Noah's family thought he was a little nuts. When Evan's family finally joins him in time to shepherd hundreds of gorgeous, computer generated animals onto the ark, we were all swept along in a gigantic flood that changes hearts and minds all the way to the Capital Building.
The flood portrayed in Evan Almighty services the myth of Noah's Ark, for the sake of comedy; it is by no means representative of a serious natural disaster. Sadly, thousands of parents are having to deal with unimaginable loss after the deadly cyclone hit Myanmar 3 weeks ago, and an earthquake devastated schools and homes in China's Sichuan Province. We've been riveted to the news, but weren't sure how to discuss the tragedy with our own children. It feels strange to shield them from important world news (we don't want them to grow up in a bubble) but what at what volume should we offer a download? We have consulted our own expert, Marriage and Family Counselor Sandy Silas, for answers to these confusing questions - she cautions parents to first learn exactly what the kids know, and to focus on how the news makes them feel. Young children can focus on the facts about earthquakes and storms, and older kids can begin to think about earthquake preparedness (a sobering thought after last week's news that Southern California may indeed be due for another trembler) and make a contribution to one of the savvy non-profit organizations who are already sending aid to those troubled regions. Check out our City Savvy section below for her age-appropriate recommendations.
Our Buttery Bits of Wisdom about this Film:
Tips for talking with your kids about the film:
Talking With Kids About Natural Disasters
Our Kids Off The Couch Expert, Marriage and Family Counselor Sandy Silas, Offers Tips for Talking to Children of Every Age, from Tots to Teens
Time: As long as it takes
Our tips from Sandy Silas, for talking with your kids about the tragedies around the world:
Our tips for organizations that can help worldwide: