Friday, April 19, 2013

Talking about it

Student runners discuss Boston bombing

Express Staff Writer

The Bellevue Girls on the Run team shows their courage faces after discussing the impact of the Boston marathon bombings and healthy emotions.
Express photo by Jennifer Liebrum

    This week’s Girls on the Run lesson plan was to discuss emotions. After the explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday, the immediate emotions that came to many girls’ minds were negative.
    “Scared, angry, fearful, sad,” some of the girls said when prompted by their coaches.
    In the Bellevue group on Wednesday, it took a while for the conversation to turn to positive emotions, the gravity of the events causing temporary amnesia.
    Executive Director Mary Fauth had encouraged coaches across the valley to stimulate the conversation, because, in large part, that is what the organization is about—providing a forum to release their feelings, learn how to process them and find ways to cope.
    “We’ll open up dialogue for girls that might want to share their feelings, assure them of their safety if need be, and alert parents if we notice any change in normal behavior,” Fauth said.
    Fauth said coaches also talked about how to react to tragedies.
    “We did talk about looking for the ‘helpers’ when in time of need or fear,” she said. “I think it’s important to also not repeat what other kids say unless confirmed by an adult they personally trust.  There were some things thrown out there by kids … that weren’t true.”  
    It took the better part of the first half of the allotted time for the girls at Bellevue to express themselves. Satisfied that the subject has been exhausted, for now, coach Carrie Mahoney brought the girls back into focus, asking them to show what joy looks like, and reassuring them of other positive emotions. In a subsequent game, girls were encouraged to categorize the feelings as comfortable or uncomfortable, rather than good or bad.
    When asked how releasing their feelings felt, all of the girls put their scribbled responses in the envelope marked “comfortable.” Keeping those things in had made them angry or frustrated. Sharing made them feel good.
    Fauth said Girls on the Run runners will wear blue for Boston at the organization’s upcoming 5K race on May 18.

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