"I had a nightmare. It was about fireworks, and one of them hit me." This is what my four year old daughter told me the other day. With the political situation as it is, it’s hard for me to believe that this is simply a coincidence, that something she doesn’t really know about (fireworks) would hit her.
We’ve heard fireworks a lot recently. They’re less celebratory nowadays; they don't indicate weddings, but instead riots. I’ve told her people are throwing things at each other. I haven't told her people are shooting fireworks at each other. Somehow the fear sinks in, what we hear, and what happens to us.
I want to filter her exposure to these issues. We talk about them. In general terms. During the Gaza War when we heard sirens and felt and heard the resounding 'boom' of the falling rockets, we talked about how people were throwing things at each other, and how throwing things never fixes anything. We talk about vandalism, “Death to Arabs” scrawled at the entry to her school, and the police present along with municipal workers cleaning it off the walls. How people wish each other terrible things. We talk about how we need to work hard, giving our hands to God to make things better, to make things right.
For me, one of the saddest things about living here is our inability to let our children grow up free of exposure to hatred and violence.
When I think of fireworks, my first thought is celebrations of independence. When my daughter thinks of fireworks, she thinks it is a beautiful and scary weapon.