Today, while reading an article about a New Yorker's experience on September 11, 2001, the thought struck me: Will Ben learn about 9/11 today? Do they talk about it with kindergartners?
We've never told him, because there's never been a reason. We weren't personally affected by it and it's not exactly a conversation you have with a 3 year old.
But it got me thinking... Ben lives in a pretty nice world right now. He lives in a world without 9/11 and assassinations and Nazis and slavery and all the other atrocities committed throughout human history. But he's going to learn about those things, and probably very soon. If not this year then maybe next. And I want him to learn about them, and think critically about them and become a knowledgeable human being... But... It's just hard imagining my children learning about those things.
Ben's not nearly as sensitive to stimuli as I am, but I remember in 8th grade when we did a whole unit on WWII it was pretty emotional for me. I couldn't - and still can't, really - believe that people would do such unthinkable things for, what? Power? It makes absolutely NO sense to me. And the idea of my children feeling that hurt for people who died long ago... Well, I was going to say I didn't want them to feel that pain, but maybe I do. I want them to be empathetic people, but unfortunately that does mean taking on a lot of pain that's not directly your own.
There are hard conversations in our parenting future and while I don't love the idea of my childrens' innocence being shattered by the reality of how horrible people can be, I do relish the idea that I get to explain how we can be better than that.