Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman don't shy away from having difficult conversations with their children when hard news dominates the headlines.

Urban was among the honorees at the CMT Artists of the Year ceremony in Nashville on Wednesday night (Oct. 18), where the performers took the opportunity to honor the victims of the recent mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. That terrible shock came right on the heels of a month in which Montgomery Gentry singer Troy Gentry died in a helicopter accident and hurricanes devastated wide swaths of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, and Urban admits like other parents, he and Kidman have struggled with how to talk to their daughters about those hard topics.

"There's darkness in the world," Urban acknowledged in a red carpet interview with People, "and at some point you want to keep your kids from that because you want [them] to enjoy childhood and imagination and see the world in a beautiful way, but at some point learning how to navigate that is crucial for not letting the darkness tell you how to live. And that’s what we’re all in the midst of right now: How do we not let that kind of darkness change our living so much that it’s taken all the color out of it?"

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The couple didn't feel like they could keep from addressing the Vegas shooting with 9-year-old Sunday Rose and 6-year-old Faith Margaret.

"They saw some things on the news, and it affected the country music community in such a massive way. They knew when they saw us reeling. And they’re so connected to us, they’re like, 'What’s wrong?'" Kidman recounts. "So we’re in it together, trying to raise our children in this time. How do we navigate it, how do we protect, yet still give them strength and still keep them moving forward and focusing on what’s beautiful?"

Urban joined Jason Aldean, Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town for a defiant performance of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" to close the ceremony in tribute to the resilient spirit of the Las Vegas shooting victims.

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