How do we talk to young children living far away from Israel about the current situation (Operation Protective Edge) when they are not yet old enough to understand terms like “Zionism” or “anti-Semitism” or “terrorism” or “occupation”? As parents of young children and also as Jewish educators, we would like to offer some tips for talking (and listening) to young children about the current conflagration.
- Acknowledge that these are difficult times.
- Think about what story you want to tell.
- Whatever story you tell, be mindful of how you tell it.
Follow their lead.
Be willing to admit that you don’t have all the answers.
Be deliberate when you use the words “we” and “us.”
- Talk about what your family can do to help.
Reach out to people in Israel that your children may know.
Do mitzvot/good actions in the world.
Solicit your children’s ideas for other ways to help.
It can be hard for parents to reassure young children when the world feels like a much scarier place than it did a month ago. Yet as parents we need to continue modeling how Judaism can be a source of meaning and goodness in our daily lives. Not only does this help our children feel a sense of normalcy and comfort, but it can also help restore our own faith in the possibility of a better future and can, in these very dark days, offer a glimmer of light.
Read more at Kveller.