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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What do I tell my children?

I am sitting at my desk trying to create cue sheets for the High Holy Days (among 5-6 other things that require my attention).  I am following my wife on Facebook as she celebrates Carlie's brand new after school activity - she is now on her school volleyball team.  I am listening to Grunge Rock on Sirius XM radio.  And, yet, my attention is drawn away.  My mind wanders...my brain hurts.

I am frustrated, anxious, nervous, angry, excited and so much more.  How do I explain to my 11 year old daughter what is going on today?  She has learned about American history in school.  She has nearly memorized the soundtrack to Hamilton.  She has lived in the home of the Civil Rights movement - Atlanta.  She has traveled with me and had many conversations at home, school and camp about race relations, different religions, sexual preferences, etc. 

She and her friends are getting to the age now in which questions do not stop coming.  Why this, why that, why, why, why????  Most of the time, Batya and I have some answers.  Sometimes, the answers make sense to her and sometimes she ignores them completely.  However, what do I do when she asks questions that I cannot answer?  I am (of course) not speaking about school related questions.  Both my wife and I (I believe) are pretty well educated and know "stuff."

How do I explain to her what is happening in Charlottesville (and really in so many other places)?  When she asks why her president is not doing anything (or not enough at least), how do I answer?  Yes, I am a Democrat...and I voted for Secretary Clinton to be the President.  However, I understand that Donald Trump IS the President.  I really do try to keep an open mind and tell Carlie that there are things we cannot understand....but really, that is not enough.

There is nothing difficult to understand with regards to right and wrong.  Morality is morality; treating others with love and kindness - this is a very easy concept to understand, right?  So, why am I at such a loss right now?  As a rabbi, I recognize how important it is for me to lead by example and be a role model.  I want to do and say more...so, why don't I?

I suppose that writing is (at least for me) an escape.  It allows me to really think about what I am writing as I write.  There are so many good things (and people) in America.  I am absolutely proud to be an American.  However, for the first time in my life, I am genuinely worried/concerned for the future of my children.  There has to be a stop/end to what is going on.  If not, how far will we go before it is too late?

I grapple with these questions...I will continue grappling.  Perhaps I am missing a sign...perhaps.

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