02 September 2006

explaining the unexplainable

Kim wrote a post recently called "Explaining the Unexplainable" -- about trying to explain to children things such as the purpose of fighter jets or the concept of war. We had a similar experience yesterday.

Greg, flipping through magazine: Wow, it's already been five years since 9/11?
Me: Yep, it happened just before James was born and he's almost five.
James, upon hearing his name come up: What happened just before I was born?
Me and Greg: .....

We kind of brushed it off, because how can you explain that airplanes were flown into buildings without explaining the terrorism that motivated it? And how can you explain the fact that some people will indiscriminately kill others, strangers, for the sake of some cause or ideology? I don't know how to do it; yet someday I know that I will have to do it, and that I will do it (though probably very clumsily).

This is some of the scarier stuff of parenting -- shattering your child's illusions of the world as a wonderful place, and helping them to understand the darker sides of humanity. When it comes to the big talks of parenthood, when faced with describing terrorism and hatred and religious fanaticism and the violence that comes with them, I find myself almost looking forward to having the birds and the bees talk instead.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i bet you do. some time ago when we had a scary experience at my parents' place (someone set fire to the neighbour's door - i dunno if you read about it in my journal) brina, who's just a little younger than james, was asking why they set fire in the corridor. and her mum also brushed it off. i wished i'd had a reassuring answer to give her, but i didn't and instead i was just left there with her confusion and fear. she didn't really say anything but you could sense it. these things are tough.

on another note: i hope you have a lovely day :)