The tragic events that have unfolded in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut are unsettling to say the least.
School is considered to be a safe haven for children second only to our homes. The idea that 27 people, including 18 children, were killed in an elementary school shatters our preconceived notion of safety and security within the walls of our public schools.
Given the nature and accessibility of media today it is more than likely that our children are well aware of this tragic event. The fears that we have as parents can only give us a hint to the fears and questions this event creates for our children. I offer the following talking points to assist you in addressing their concerns:
1. The man who did this is no longer alive and cannot hurt anyone again.
2. When something terrible like this happens people everywhere do their best to make sure that it does not happen again. Talk about the security that you have seen at airports, etc. all those people are there to protect you.
3. Things are in the news because they are extraordinary. If we break down the word "extraordinary" we see the words "extra" and "ordinary." Things that are on the news are things that don't happen every day. Something like this has never happened in our community and is not likely to happen.
4. Offer your children the opportunity to pray for those who were injured or killed and their families. This will give them a way to express concern in a constructive manner. It does not need to be eloquent: just simple and from the heart.
I hope that these talking points are helpful. If I can be of assistance please feel free to call upon me.
With Torah Blessings,
Rabbi David Ross Senter
Synagogue Office 516 935 5454