step 1 :: buy him this book.
step 2 :: take him here.
step 3 :: talk a little too honestly about this.
step 4 :: define this word.
step 5 :: watch this show in front of him.
[sorry you have to follow so many links.]
as most of you know, ian is a very sensitive boy. he can be incredibly introspective and he thinks too much (he gets that from me). and that thinking often leads to bad stuff. lately, he's been talking about the holocaust a lot and asking tons of questions. it's also sparked more fear in him, and in his weak moments (i.e., when he's tired) the tears come pouring out.
it's really hard for me to know where to draw the line with disseminating information. and i know i've messed up (yet again) with this. i have always believed that if my child asks me something i will answer him as honestly as i can, especially if it's an important topic. my motto :: knowledge is power. but the holocaust is such a difficult, cruel, and important topic; you can't deal with it carelessly. how much is too much information, especially for a 6-year old? i didn't do enough research beforehand to prepare myself to deal with the sensitivity of the subject and the pupil.
ian's intellectually curious, so i can't answer his questions vaguely. at the same time i know i can't tell him everything about the inhumanity and insanity of the holocaust. it's even too much for an adult to take. what he learned at the museum of tolerance, what he's read in his children's encyclopedia, and what he's learned from us has been enough to make him worry about another holocaust in his lifetime. he came home early from a sleepover at my parents' house with a stomachache because he was scared that he would be taken away to a camp someday. it took a lot of coaxing and gentle discussion about how we learn from history, and how his dad and i are going to do everything we can to protect him. it brought tears to my eyes to think that i brought this fear to my child's life.
i can't erase what's already been implanted in his brain. i think all i can do now is educate myself on how to appropriately teach my kids about sensitive issues, and make this a true teachable moment about human rights. what can we do to prevent another holocaust from ever happening? what can we do to make our planet a better place? what can we do to prepare ian's generation to work towards peace? what can we do to instill compassion in all of mankind? it is a ginormous task, one i'm not sure i'm prepared for. but to make ian's life (and maya's) a better one, i know it's something i have to do.
coming soon :: lesson 2 :: how to unmess your kid's mind. i think i'll talk about this to help ian understand that not everyone has learned from history, but we can do something about it. maybe if we get involved it will help him feel like he has power to make positive changes, to have control over the future. i truly hope so.