I call this blog “Ayekah — Where are you?” I think it is the ultimate spiritual question. But it isn’t simply about how we look inward to find contentment… it is about how we look inward to have meaningful and authentic encounters with others. Ayekah, as a value, is calling out for us again. We need to be there for our children and students who are going to begin to learn more and more abuot what had happened in Connecticut. This post is to share some thoughts and links to help us maneuver through a dreadful conversation with young children and students.
First and foremost…our hearts go out to the families, educators, neighbors in Newtown, CT. Our community will keep you all in our prayers for strength and healing in the many days, weeks, and months to come.
I think it is really important to have this conversation with our children who are in elementary school. They are going to her about it somewhere along the line and I would rather have them hear truths rather than the exagerated rumors that have already begun to circulate. But it does not need to be the whole story. It can be general. But the thing to share is…they are safe. Yes, we all know that we do not have total control over our lives. But young children need to feel secure and safe and to know that we are not going anywhere, and neither are they.
My colleague, Rabbi Paul Kipnes shared some very succinct thoughtful suggestions that I want to share with you:
- Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Parents Can Do (National Institute for Mental Health)
- Simple Pointers for Parents
- Reform movement resources, including links about talking about death to children: http://urj.org/life/community/family/bereavement/
May the Kadosh Baruch Hu console the bereaved and give strength to their loved ones.
May the day come speedily and soon when we will turn our swords into plowshares so we will never have to face such senseless loss of life.
May these children and their teachers be always remembered for a blessing…