Sunday, November 23, 2008

Assassination of Kennedy- Children Learning about Terror

I am taking up Batya’s prodding to blog about where we were when President Kennedy was murdered....I wasn’t sure that I could do a whole blog on this, but it grew as I typed..
I was in 6th grade the day which President Kennedy was killed.(OK, now you know how old I am!) I had viewed him as an impeccable person, not knowing the scandals that later arose around him, and viewing everything with a child’s (you are “right” or “wrong”) mind. It was rainy outside, and when our two teachers came in to tell us "Something upsetting", I thought a tornado was on the way. The shock of the announcement was tremendous. WE watched TV there in class and saw all the announcements. It was one of my first contacts with the reality that there are evil people in the world. (Also, somewhere about that same time, I came across some old magazines covering the Eichmann trial (in the office of our local airport), where I first became aware of the types of things perpetrated during the holocaust, which needless to say, left me in shock.)
The question is, how can we help our children handle this type of occurrence? (And in Israel, we are not talking about 6th graders, but much younger children.) I always suspect that if a kid is noticing the tension of the adults around, and is grasping at least some of the information, he needs to be told. Then he can be told that it is rare, and not likely to happen to his family. And I always add: “We don’t choose when we die. We can only choose how to live.”


Batya said...

Thanks for taking up the challenge.

Yes, your point that children reflect the attitude of the adults around them.

There are important lessons in that post.

ps I thought that you were much younger than me, not just a few years.

A Living Nadneyda said...

I'm too young to remember Kennedy, since he died before I was born. For my generation the parallel question is usually, Where were you when the space shuttle exploded? which was not a question of active evil, but rather of organizational neglect, in and of itself a source of evil, sometimes. (I was in eight grade... now you know how old I am!). My social studies teacher was in shock; she trained with Christa McAuliffe and was something like third in line to go up in the shuttle, so she really identified and mourned on a personal level.

As for how to explain evil to children - I don't even know how to explain it to other adults.