Kids & Palestine - Answering the Tough Questions - Part One
You are scrolling on your phone. Suddenly, you see a distressing scene. A frightened child is crying. The child is unaware of their injuries. Meanwhile, their mother is being rushed away on a makeshift hospital bed. Surrounding community members offer hugs and duas despite being wounded themselves. Sounds of distant explosions take up the background noise.
This is one of many scenes that represent the alarming reality of our brothers and sisters in Palestine.
It may be distressing enough to see this content yourself and try to make sense of the situation. It can be upsetting to explain this to our young ones, like our kids or students. So, how do we navigate explaining the attack on Palestine to kids?
Things to consider beforehand:
1) Following Sunnah:
The approach you may take varies on your personal beliefs, which is why it is important to discuss how to explain the current situation with trusted adults (i.e. family members or colleagues).
You have a few options to learn about the history of Palestine. One option is to YouTube videos from trusted sources for kids. Another option is to read a children's book like "My Garden Over Gaza" by Sarah Musa. You can also have a conversation about it. Another option is to have a conversation.
Either way, the most important thing to heed is gentleness in our conduct and patience with our children’s questions. This is how our Prophet (peace be upon him) interacted with kids, and he taught us to do the same.
2) Taking care of yourself first:
To see our brothers and sisters suffer and feel helpless at the same time is hard. Before passing down information to future generations, it's imperative we understand the history. Process your own emotions first, and feel the anger, heartbreak, sadness, and any other feelings you may have. Reflect on how we can transform the power of our patience into fuel for motivation to remain steadfast.
The Quran [2:44] tells us that we must first practice ourselves, and then preach to others.
“Do you preach righteousness and fail to practice it yourselves, although you read the Scripture? Do you not understand?”
- Surah Baqarah (The Cow), Verse 44
3) Remember, it is a conversation, not a lesson:
Young minds are powerful. Although they may struggle to comprehend complex theories, this does not mean we should diminish the value of their opinions.
Asking kids questions is key to understanding what they know and what they need help understanding. Ask them what they know about the situation and what they believe is right and wrong about Palestine. You should use their answers as a guideline to fit the approach.
First, we should listen to them and address any issues. We must always remain true to the values of kindness in our religion.
This article is divided into three parts and discusses important topics when discussing Palestine with children.
What is happening in Palestine right now?
We can understand the events that caused the current situation by researching for a few hours. Palestinians are living in war conditions and lack basic necessities.
A child's mind is delicate, so understanding conflict and occupation can be challenging.
One way to introduce the situation of what is happening in Palestine right now is through analogies.
Consider a story like this as an example;
Ali was living peacefully with his father and grandfather in their home. They invite another family, Andy’s, who needs refuge, to stay with them. Andy's family gradually invades Ali's family's area, eventually restricting their access to just one room in their house. When Ali sought the help of somebody outside, it seemed no one would be willing to aid.
Various groups share the land of Palestine. These groups include the Indigenous people and other settled groups currently living there. It also represents the limited international support to dissolve the situation.
Teaching kids reality creatively helps them understand complex situations.
Next, we will discuss the importance of learning about Palestine. Additionally, we will explore the specific topics parents should emphasize when discussing Palestine with their children.
Related Posts: Kids & Palestine - History of Palestine (Part Two), Gaza: Cry for Help, Palestine Emergency Appeal, Triple R Approach.