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:

Talking to our kids about the school shooting requires that (1) we get ahold of our own emotions (2) turn off the tv so they don’t relive this shooting over and over again (especially for younger children) (3) hug and hold. For younger children, drawing is a great way for them to express what they heard, saw or are thinking. For older children… doing something together – playing ball, cards or shopping – provides comfortable safe non-intrusive moments for them to share or emote. Read this article for more resources.
Here are a few web links with expert advice to help you prepare for your conversations:

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…