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Going To Work and School After Another Tragedy

October 28, 2018

I wrote and shared an article like this almost 6 years ago after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Unfortunately, little has changed in regards to gun violence since then and we find ourselves thinking about and having to have these conversations more often. I have adapted and updated the article below to reflect the incident at Tree of Life Synagogue and the current times we are living in.

Like so many of you, I was affected by the deadly shooting at Tree Of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this weekend. Like so many of you, I thought about all those affected by this tragedy.  And like so many of you, I started to think about my loved ones and my community.

As the weekend draws to a close, I think about my own week ahead, working at a Jewish agency, working in elementary and secondary schools and living as an openly gay man. The subject and setting of so many recent acts of violence and hate. I will think about everyone else whose identities have been the subject of hate and violence and hope that they too will be safe.  

For parents, especially those whose children attend religious or culturally based schools, there will likely be some fear and anxiety as you get your children ready for school on Monday morning.   And if your kids know about the incident this weekend, they will likely be a little anxious themselves.

Here are my 7 ½  tips for getting your kids through the door of their school on Monday morning so that parents and children feel safe.

1 Validate Their Anxieties – If they are scared or nervous to go to school, tell them that you understand and ask what you can do to help them feel more comfortable.

2 But Don’t Let Them See Yours – If you are more scared than they are, they will pick up on that and it may escalate their feelings.

3 The School Is Your Friend – If they are really nervous, call the school, explain the situation and ask them for support.

4 Don’t Bring It Up Unless They Do – Kids spend a lot of time thinking about themselves, even the sensitive and caring ones.  The morning before school is often spent thinking about the day ahead – not reflecting on the news of the weekend.

5 Monitor The Media – Like above, if you can keep it from them while they are getting ready, they are less likely to think about it.

6 Take That Extra Moment – Even if your kids don’t know why, give them a hug and a kiss, write a note and leave it in their lunch, send an extra special text message.  It will make everyone feel good.

7 Don’t Perpetuate Hate – There is so much hate and violence and divisiveness in our world. Teach your children and each other about love and acceptance and compassion. Stand up for all victims of hate and violence whether or not they look or pray like you.

7 ½. Say I Love You.

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