Tough Questions


I’m really nervous.  Right now my children live in such an environment that their biggest worries amount to; How to get out of Bedtime, My sibling took my toy/book/empty box, I don’t want THAT for supper but Tatte says I have to eat it, How can I obtain more cookies throughout the day.  They no nothing of fighting, war, death, or poverty.  One day I am going to have to explain these things to both of my children, but I have no idea how to go about such a thing.  I also really don’t want my children to lose their innocent outlook on life.

I watch the news most mornings and lately there have been all sorts of images that I’d rather they not see.  First there’s the oil spill.  Thankfully they cannot even begin to comprehend what is going on there.  They are quite happy to just see waterfoul, whether or not they’re covered in oil.  As far as Tevye and Saarah are concerned they’re supposed to look like that.  They think that the oil spewing into the ocean is just, well, I have no idea what they actually think is going on.  I’m sure though that they think it’s supposed to be this way. Tevye will generally accept whatever he sees as “normal”.

When the reporting for the oil spill is over, they’ve been switching to talking about the Mavi Marmara.  I should state at this point that when I flip to the news, the children don’t generally watch with me.  As soon as it’s no longer cartoons, they run off and play with their toys.  If they are watching with me, I wont let them watch such violent scenes.

The point is, there are a lot of things in the world that are less than child friendly.  Up until recently I didn’t even think about having to explain these sorts of things to my children.  As far as they were concerned, they didn’t exist.  My first realization that, one day, I will have some serious explaining to do was when we were last in Halifax.  We went to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.  While it was a really wonderful museum, and all of us had a superb time, it was then that I was faced with Tevye’s first tough question.  As you walk into the lobby, there is a skeleton shackled to the wall, the way that it used to be done.  It was up high, and when we first walked in I noticed it, but the kids didn’t.  On our way out though, Tevye and I were walking to the stairs(we were on the second floor by this point).  Over the railing, there was Boney Maroney hanging on the wall.  Tevye stopped, looked over the railing, and asked “Tatte, what is that?”.  I was stumped.  How on earth do you explain something like this to a two year old?  After a minute of me searching for an appropriate answer, I fell back on the tried and true “I’ll tell you when you’re older”.  While this answer seemed to appease his inquiring mind, it made me realize that his questions about the world are about to get a whole lot more difficult to answer.

Just last week, as a matter of fact, someone I know made a very offensive comment to me regarding the flotilla.  I wont go into what they said, but the point is, I was offended enough that it put me in a really bad mood all day.  At one point Tevye asked me why I was upset, and I didn’t know what to tell him. As far as he’s concerned, people are generally nice to each other, and they don’t fight.  Tatte says not to fight, so that must be the accepted mentality of adults the world over.

I’m not going to lie to my children.  I will however, try to get them to focus on the good in the world instead of the bad.  For all of the bad things that happen, there are a thousand good things happening at the same time.  If, however, they should ask these questions, I am going to try the “I’ll tell you when you’re older” line.  I have no idea what an appropriate age to tell my children of all the horrors in the world, but hopefully I’ll figure it out when it’s time.  Either that or I could just pack everything up and move my family to a cave in the middle of nowhere.


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