A FEW Saturdays ago, I persuaded my 17-year-old son to accompany me to a protest about the removal of the Union flag outside the City Hall. I assured him it would be non-violent.
The protest was fairly peaceful, but my son was horrified as some men pulled on masks and began taunting police. Earlier that week, I had shown my daughter the DUP leaflet that sparked the protests; being only 10, she could not see what the fuss was about.
I could try to explain that the violence was the fault of rogue elements; that the unionist politicians who issued the leaflets were not responsible.
But if someone burns my house down, I don't blame flames; I blame the one who lit the match.
Perhaps I should make more of an effort to explain to my children that our culture and heritage are under threat.
But how do I explain that, after a decade of success for the DUP, our heritage is under threat?
I could try deflecting my children's outrage with arguments about Sinn Fein despising everything British and naming play-parks after terrorists.
But children are quite sharp and might notice that the DUP chose to spark off the protest by leafleting East Belfast, where it lost to Alliance.
In the short term, those who produced that leaflet may well win back East Belfast.
But will the short term advantage be worth alienating another generation of unionist children?