Sunday, December 20, 2009

War... What Is It Good For?

Immediately following a wonderful weekend in Harrisburg with Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Siblings - we took the kids to the Civil War Museum on our way home from Harrisburg. We went from saying things like, "Christmas is all about family, togetherness, and love." to explaining slavery to 5 year olds.

I'm not sure why I was unprepared for this today but I had some tough conversations with the kids at the museum that were equally as difficult for me (to find the proper words) as it was for the them to grasp the concept, I think. James couldn't understand why a man was in shackles and behind bars if he wasn't a "bad" man. Anna wanted to know what all of those bumps on the black man's back were? Ella was asking questions about how people could be for sale and why a mommy and her son would be sold to different owners. Sammy did the museum created scavenger hunt and Robby really wanted to play with the guns (the picture on the right is of him hiding behind some sandbags to avoid The Confederate attacks). Anyway - the answers to their questions eventually started flowing out of my mouth and I had a real moment of clarity. As I was explaining some of the more shameful pieces of US History to four innocent Kindergarteners, it hit me that the main thing that should be communicated to them is - in our country's past some groups of people were treated really badly because of the color of their skin. And the reason that this museum is here is for us to learn about what happened - so that we can make sure that it never happens again. That ended up being the message of the day for the kids.

It's funny - when we were snowed in and sitting around the fire with our loved ones we appreciated being together and the love that we all felt - when we were learning about the concept of slavery and war - we ended up appreciating it even more.

Anyway - here's a picture of Anna in front of a gun.