A few days before our daughter was born, we saw the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. My husband and I remarked on how she was entering a world without bin Laden in it. What else would we know that she would not experience? And, what would she see in her lifetime instead?
Today, I drove my daughter to daycare with her 5 week old brother in tow and the news was full of stories about the one year anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The world in which our children live does not have Osama bin Laden, for years the face of terrorism and unexpected violence. Yet, now it has a different face--the anonymous, unknown perpetrators of violence in movie theaters, workplaces, and schools. I think many of us would agree this is a much scarier world. For reasons that defy our understanding, seemingly normal people turn to guns and take the lives of innocent people--adults and children.
How do we approach such a world? How do we help our children to cope with this reality? For now, my children are still too young to know about such things, but that time will soon end. I want to be able to help them channel their fear and confusion into action--that they will not only know how to keep themselves as safe as possible in the event of the unthinkable (whatever that may be), but they will also know how to write and call their legislators and advocate on issues of guns, violence, and mental health support. I pray they will draw strength from being surrounded by a community that is committed to creating a safer and better world for all people.
Tonight, as Shabbat comes and we offer our prayers for our children, asking God to bless them with peace, may we envision a world where all children will be safe, be loved, and know wholeness and peace.