DEI resources for parents, religious freedom for kidsYour kids are bound to hear something about the Israel-Palestine conflict from friends. And they'll no doubt come home and ask you what it means.

Here some steps for explaining it simply - and turning it into a diversity conversation at the same time!

1. First discuss your family’s religious traditions

Before diving into an explanation Israeli-Palestine conflict, plant seeds for the discussion by explaining your own family’s religious background.

When you broach the subject, make your child feel like you’re sharing special information with them. The goal is to help them feel pride in their own faith, first, so they can connect that feeling to current events.

Does your family have any religious rituals? Traditional ones? New ones? Kids love to talk about things their family does together.

​After you've helped your child feel a sense of pride about your own family’s religious traditions, be sure to mention that other families most likely have their own religious traditions that give them the same kind of warm feeling.

Now pivot the conversation to religious equality and how important it is for everyone to celebrate their own religious traditions without conflict.​ ​

2. Next discuss the basics of religious freedom

Start by offering a simple definition of ‘religious equality.’

‘Religious equality means treating all people who have different religious beliefs with kindness and respect.’

By providing a simple explanation, you’re not only giving your child an easy-to-process definition, but you’re also giving them confidence in their ability to understand a complicated subject. Confidence is key here. You want to keep them engaged.

Please note: The suggestion above might seem like a lot of unnecessary preamble to a simple explanation of the Israel-Palestine conflict. But trust us, if you come right out and say something blunt like "Israelis and Arab Nationalists have been fighting for years over a strip of Holy land," your explanation most likely won't sink in. Worse, you run the risk of having your explanation sound flippant. Without describing the horrors of the conflict, you do want to instill a sense of how wrong it is to fight about religious differences.

3. Now explain the common threads of worldwide religions

Now that you’ve offered a simple definition of religious equality, connect all religions. The goal is to teach your child that even though the way that individuals celebrate their faith might be different (e.g., holidays, food, clothing, music, etc.), all religions share the same basic principles. ​

The common threads of all worldwide religions are ‘hope’ and ‘love.’ Say that again.

​Connect this concept to how your family feels when they do their own rituals together. Is there anything your family does to express hope and love for each other after a ritual? Hugs? Gift-giving? Food? Talking about life’s blessings? The future? It can be anything.

Again, the suggestion above might seem like unnecessary information to include, but try to remember how important it is to lay the groundwork for whatever it is you're trying to get across to your child.

4. Lastly explain the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Once you've prefaced your Israel-Palestine explanation with a discussion of your own family religion and also with religious freedom 101 principles provided above, it's time for an easy explanation of what's going on in Israel right now.

Here's a suggestion for words you could use:

"For a really long time, Israelis and the Palestinians have been fighting over a strip of holy land that both sides want to control. Recently, a Palestinian terrorist group called Hamas attacked Israel hoping to gain control of the holy land."

Keep it simple. There's no need to get into the intricacies of the violence, other countries' involvement, or the religious background of the Gaza strip.

Instead, the biggest takeaway for kids here should be that everyone, no exceptions, should be free to practice whatever religion they choose without conflict.

Please note: This article offers talking points to consider only. We fully understand this can be a sensitive topic, and that you know your child best.​​

If you found this article helpful, please check out How to Teach Kids Manners for ANY Religion. It's a short booklet for parents that's full of more suggestions about integrating religious equality values into household routines and conversations. 
DEI for Parents
Tagged: Empathy Religion