Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Thoughts of Children

Sierra thinks I should negotiate peace for the Middle East.

During a recent history lesson (we're working through Ancient History...we just arrived at Hammurabi and Babylon), she wanted to know what part of the world we were talking about. I had her bring over the globe and I pointed out the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea and on over to the Persian Gulf and showed her where each of the empires we were discussing had been located. It came up that there is a lot of fighting going on in that region and she asked why and I told her it actually all started with the stuff we were reading about in the history book, that essentially people have been fighting over the same things for the last 4,000 years (have you ever read A Peace to End All Peace? Very difficult reading, but incredibly informative).

With all the innocence of a child, she scrunched up her face and said, "Well that's silly, why can't they just get along and share?" I tried to give her an age-appropriate explanation about why that just hadn't worked out and that's when she told me I should just go teach them. When I turned down that idea, she said she would go over and tell them if they couldn't be nice they wouldn't get any candy. I told her they didn't care so much about candy. Finally she said, "Well then, they should just draw a line and put one group of people on one side and another group on the other side and tell them to leave each other alone". Sadly, I had to point out that had been tried, and no luck.

I find it interesting though. Most children, even if they have a difficult time following the rule, will tell you the right thing to do is be nice to each other and share. We go to great lengths to teach our children this (which is telling in and of itself...shouldn't they be able to pick it up by example?). By the time we reach adulthood, it seems a great many of us no longer believe these rules apply. Simplistic? Yes. But sometimes I think we could all use a little simplicity.

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