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Dec 24 2012

Guns Have No Place in My School

By at 11:50 am

security guard badgeLast week, the NRA responded to the unspeakable, horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut with the proposal to have an armed guard in every school in America. Several NRA supporters went further: the phrase “arm the teachers!” frequented Facebook and my Twitter feed for days.

I fumed.

Guns have no place in schools. They have no place around children. They have no place in a learning environment wherein the most fundamental tenets are tolerance, respect, community, and peaceful conflict resolution.  Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 17 2012

News Roundup: Talking to Kids About the Shooting & More

By at 4:45 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

- Tips for Talking to Children About the Shooting. It’s a daunting task at a scary time, but if your kids have heard about the shooting in Newtown, CT and want to talk to you about it, here are some pointers for steering the conversation. (New York Times)

How Older Parenthood Will Upend American Society. Judith Shulevitz examines the effects of older mothers and fathers (spoiler alert: fertility decreases as you get older, for men and women!). (The New Republic)

Good Lovers Make Good Parents. The same things that make you and your partner romantically compatible translate into making you good moms and/or dads. (New York Daily News)

-The UN Environmental Program is debating whether to ban a vaccine preservative that some worry may cause autism. The preservative was taken out of vaccines in the US and Europe a decade ago and has not resulted in lower rates of autism. (NPR)

Sandy Hook: Three Different Kids, Three Different Discussions

By at 4:03 pm

three different kidsNormally the one to talk our kids through the milestones and tragedies of life, I found myself in the odd, and rare, position of being out-of-town as the tragedy in Connecticut was unfolding. From a thousand miles away, I could not hold them. Nor could I really talk to them from that distance.

Arriving home late Sunday night, I had no idea what, if anything, they knew about Sandy Hook. I didn’t know if they were afraid. Or sad. Or anything. What I did know is that I wanted to control the information. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance.  Read the rest of this entry →

My Parenting Mistake: I Didn’t Talk to My Son About Sandy Hook

By at 11:11 am

boy in backseat of carI have made many mistakes as a parent. But none as terrible as the one I made this weekend. I am struck by this realization as I drive my son to school this morning.

Perhaps it is the act of tapping the brakes that triggers my remorse. This is exactly where I sat on Friday when I heard the news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I was sitting in the driver’s seat when I mistakenly decided not to discuss this news with my son.

Turning off the car radio and wiping the tears from my face with my sweatshirt sleeve, I inched forward in the carpool line. When he closed the car door behind him and tugged his seatbelt into place, I asked the same question that I ask every afternoon: “How was your day today?” Five words. Then I listened intently as he answered, glancing in the rearview mirror, memorizing his animated expression, making a deliberate choice to attempt to shield him from the horrific story I’d heard before he got into the car. Read the rest of this entry →

Where Was God?

By at 9:45 am

blue skyHuffington Post article that was published over the weekend asked the question that so many of us have been struggling with since the news broke of the school shooting in Newtown, CT: Where were you, God?

Here at Kveller we write a lot about various aspects of raising Jewish children, but it’s not often that we write about God. Perhaps it’s because a belief in God isn’t necessarily a requirement for full participation in the Jewish community, or perhaps it’s because faith and God are such incredibly difficult topics to think about, much less write about in a public forum. Yet when such an unspeakable tragedy occurs, one that left so many of us parents of young children in tears over the weekend, it’s hard to imagine that we weren’t thinking about God.  Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 14 2012

The School Shooting in Connecticut–A Parent’s Reflection

By at 1:51 pm

This morning, I forgot to pack my kids’ lunches and realized it about 10 seconds before we left for school. I slapped peanut butter and jelly on bread like I was on an assembly line, threw it into backpacks, had the kids race into the car and buckle their seatbelts. I yelled a “Love you!” as they clambered out of the car and shut the door behind them, not sure if they heard me.

All over the country, parents had mornings like this.

But this morning in one town in Connecticut, parents dropped off their kids at elementary school and they will never see their 18 children alive again.

I’m writing at a point where facts are still being assembled. I’m sure in the days to come, we’ll find out the names of those involved, the victims, and the murderer. We’ll find out “why” the person did it in stomach-turning articles and TV profiles.

There is no “why” that will ever be adequate. There is no explanation that will suffice for robbing these children of their lives, for robbing these parents of their joy. And the fact that “school shooting” is even in the American lexicon is a disgusting blight on a wonderful country, and we should all be angry and ashamed. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 19 2012

What the Shooting at a French Jewish School Means For Us

By at 11:48 am
school shooting in toulouse, france

The father and children who were killed this morning.

Back when I was in elementary school, the words “school” and “shooting” did not go together. One did not flip on the car radio and hear a brief mention of a school shooting, where children were killed by a gunman who was either a random shooter or one of their disenfranchised peers. And if one did hear it, one certainly would not shake one’s head, flick off the radio, and then go about one’s business without thinking about it. But that is our new modern way of life.

I was in the carpool line for elementary school, of all places, when I heard the latest news. And by “heard,” of course, I mean “heard” in the 21st century sense. I was bored waiting for my turn to finally turn onto my street, and checked my smartphone email. I read the “Breaking news” subject line and my stomach sank: “Four reported dead in shooting at French Jewish school.Read the rest of this entry →

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