When my kids were younger, they were none the wiser. I did not tell my children anything. As they have grown, however, I now take care to be the first to tell my children about current events that apply to them, especially when it's big enough that they will hear about it in school. This morning I found myself telling the kids about the terror attack in the Synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem.
One rule of thumb that I have learned from various sources (organizations, psychologists, parents) is to explain to children that what occurred is "RARE." It is uncommon and unliekly to happen to them. Children who are approximately 6 and older can comprehend the concept of COMMON vs. RARE. Teach your kids they are safe because this is RARE and far from home.
I struggle with weighing the rarity of these terror attacks.
9/11: See that building just over the river? Terrorits flew into that very site. Why? I cannot explain evil. Yes, it was in New York City where your father and grandparents work. No, it is RARE and won't happen again.
Boston bombing: At a Marathon finish line. Not Daddy's New York City Marathon, which Jeremy ran several times, but a different Marathon in Boston.
Palestinians driving onto train platforms and waiting areas: Cars, children, a baby flung from her stroller!
Har Nof Terror Attack: Men praying peacefully on a regular morning at a local synagogue. Synagogue - not ours, a different one in Israel. Someone else's daddy. Many children remain bereft. Only a block from where Mommy lived for a year when she was your age (second grade).
How RARE are these occurances?
There are so many more examples but I prefer not to think about them, about how close to home they hit. Guns, axes, construction vehicles, babies, daddies, friends.
How can we claim that terror is RARE?
May G-d bring us comfort and peace so that we no longer have to explain the atrocities of this world to our young children.