Here we sit, a day later still licking our wounds. We got up, we sent the kids to school, did some dishes, washed the floors. But it's still with us. If we dared, we've glanced at the funeral pictures. If we're human, we've been obsessing about it all day and all night, and for some of us already, the next day too.
After yesterday's horrific events, we sat down with our three oldest (8-12) and had The Talk. It was not a talk that either of us wanted to have, but it was a talk that we had to, as things beyond our control had forced us to speak to them. We didn't talk about the gruesome details of Leiby Kletzky's murder, but I do fear that they will come home today with more information than they had when we sent them off, and I'm betting there will be another talk tonight.
Last night's talk was hard enough without describing in detail the events of young Leiby's murder. You don't imagine that it will be hard to talk about things like safety and strangers, and Jewish strangers. But once you start and you see the brief shadow of fear pass over their eyes, it starts to get tough. We walked a fine line between giving clear, straightforward information as well as instructions for specific cases, and assuring them that they are safe. It was not an easy balancing act, but between the two of us, and with lots of G-d's help, I think we did ok. They had questions, most of which I could answer. But the question that kept coming back (and I heard it even again today) was "Why? Why would someone do such a thing?". I think this is the question we've all been asking ourselves. For this question I have no answer.
Leiby did everything he was supposed to do. He really wanted to walk to meet his parents, and they went over the route with him. When he realized he was lost, he asked a "frum" person for help. Until yesterday, these were the instructions I would've given my own kids. But yesterday everything changed. There are now a new set of rules, and not just for the kids, mind you.
It is so, SO important that each and every set of parents out there have a talk with their kids. From what to do when a stranger approaches them on the street to what to do if someone molests them, G-d forbid. The sexual molestation out there is so prevalent it's terrifying, and yes, I mean in the Jewish community. I know teens and adults who were molested as children, and their pain will never ever go away. Most of these kids and adults were afraid to speak to their parents. Afraid to go to an adult. No one had ever spoken to them about such things or prepared them that these things happen. Please, please, please! Make your kids aware. Do it b'timimus and at a time that they feel safe and loved. But do it.