17 November, 2007

Difficult subjects

I had to have that talk with the boys yesterday. The talk every parent dreads. (or at least the one I've been dreading.) The talk that starts off with an innocent question and ends with the obligatory:

"You're always welcome to come to me with any questions you might have, but it's probably best if you don't bring this up in any casual conversation with the neighbors..."

I had to tell them about Hitler.

It was unavoidable-- our little village was leveled by allied air raids toward the end of the war and they came across a picture of the destruction in a local newspaper.

Try finding an easy way to explain to a 6 and 8 year old why Americans would want to drop bombs on our village and completely raze it. Try simplifying Hitler's rise to power, the polarization of the world and the death camps.

My grandmother was a Hungarian Jew and had family who died in those camps. And when I studied in St. Petersburg I lived with a lovely old woman who had survived the siege of Leningrad. A fact I didn't know until one day I was hungry and unwittingly said "I'm starving!" and she lashed out with "Don't you EVER say that again! You have no idea what starving is!"

I gave S and B the basic facts as best I could and told them: "This is nothing that you have to worry about. It is not something that will affect your everyday lives. But it is important that we are all aware that this can happen so that we can make sure our leaders are kept in check and do not abuse their power."

Then came the hardest question of all: "So this isn't something that could ever happen again?"

And unfortunately there's no happy ending answer for that one, is there?

Compared to this the birds and the bees is going to be a cakewalk!


Goofball said...

hmm I thought you had to give them a "where do babies come from" talk... but I guess this one is harder to do.

Betsy said...

HA! Gotcha! :-D

anno said...

You had me going, too, but I can see how this one would be a mighty tough topic as well.

Africakid said...

Yeah, at 6 and 8, that's tough to comprehend. Even at 49...

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I feel for you in terms of that talk. I'll write more on this another time. How were S and B after?

Gardner said...

I attempted to write a comment earlier, but it kind of exploded into a blog entry.


Your entry is well written. It really captures the emotion of explaining that war to our children.

Continued luck with the topic.