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As the terrible conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza intensifies, it can be difficult to know what to say. Here are some tips on how to explain this complicated and escalating tragedy in a way your children can understand.

  • Use a metaphor that conveys the depth, breadth, and complication of the thousands of years of fighting, taking into account the religious, cultural, and racial divides that characterize the conflict. “Fighting like cats and dogs” should do it.
  • Show ‘em that Bill Maher tweet. Kids love Bill Maher!
  • Set aside a Saturday to sit your kids on your lap and read them the Torah, Quran, and The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years by Princeton Professor Bernard Lewis. If they’re good and don’t squirm too much, take them for milkshakes after.
  • Assure them that the violence in the Middle East is far away and you will keep them safe. Then one night, drop them off in the Middle East and don’t pick them up for a week, because these are your kids and your kids live in the real world.
  • Use puppets. Thousands of mutilated puppets to show the needless and horrific consequences on all sides of this conflict.
  • Take them to a cliff overlooking the entire Middle East and tell them all the violent parts are forbidden elephant graveyards.
  • Buy the children’s book ‘The Saddest Story of All Time.’
  • Definitely don’t have an existential crisis where you worry about the fate of humanity and the future of mankind as you stare into their hopeful, innocent eyes.
  • Let your brother-in-law explain it after a few beers at a family BBQ.
  • It’s kinda like if One Direction was on stage, but really Miley Cyrus was supposed to be on stage, but One Direction was there first, but actually Miley Cyrus was there first, so they just start killing everyone.
  • Try to slip it in right after you tell them you’re getting divorced, so the bad news will be easier to handle by comparison.
  • Just wait and hopefully Kathryn Bigelow will make a movie about it in three years.
  • Give them one iPad to share. They’ll get the gist.
  • Tell one child it’s all Israel’s fault; tell the other it’s the Palestinians; then leave them alone in the living room. Maybe they’ll figure it out!
  • Sing the ’93 Oslo Accords to the tune of "Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen
  • Remember, honesty is the best policy. Don’t sugarcoat it. Sit them down and explain in clear, direct terms how you have no fucking idea what’s going on.
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