Oh, so many thoughts, and I already know I'm going to fall short of articulating them the way I wish I could. I read blogs like Melissa's, Adriel's, Queeny's & Kelle's and I am blown away by the way they use words. It's like painting a picture. I don't have that, but I pretend sometimes that I do.
I've been teaching about the American Revolution in the 5th grade class where I'm doing my long term sub. This is my first time teaching 5th grade content & it's been interesting to see where their foundations are & how they view some of the concepts we are covering. Before discussing the American Revolution, you have to cover slavery because the colonists and other explorers brought slaves from Africa before the Revolution. When we finally reached the discussion of the Declaration of Independence, it was such a beautiful, but bittersweet moment when several of the students kept asking questions about why the founding fathers would put in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal" but then still have slaves. It wasn't just a they ask a question & I gave an answer kind of thing. They genuinely couldn't fathom that those two things could exist at the same time - no matter which way I explained it, it didn't make sense.
What a beautiful innocence. It got me thinking about Isis. Right now - and for many years to come - she won't know of cruelty like slavery. She won't know of genocide, hate crimes, murder, famine, the need for clean water, murder or rape or even natural disasters like the earthquake and tsunami that have currently devastated parts of our world. Devastation created by man and nature are all things that are difficult even for me to understand. For right now, I can hold her in my arms & protect her from every bit of that, all the while knowing that one day these things will have to be explained.
I hope that one day I can approach those conversations and explanations with grace and hope. By teaching my children about devastation like AIDS, genocide, natural disasters or famine, I can also give them a voice to share those frustrations when they identify immediately the injustice of it. I can teach them about these things with the understanding that they have specific strengths, intelligence & compassion that could help work against the cruelty & destruction they find in the world. At the same time that I teach them about the bad, I can teach them how to be a part of bringing good - one step, one person, one act of kindness at a time.
I love that students wouldn't understand how slavery could exist in our society because they have known their whole lives that it is wrong. It proves that in some ways, we are moving in the right direction. But I know that we have many current issues that will be a reality for these children. I pray that God will give me the wisdom & discernment to know when it is an appropriate time to breach these issues with my own children. Until then, I will continue to hold my beautiful girl in the safety & warmth that I can provide, knowing that one day the devastation in the world will break her heart, but hopefully I can give her the strength she needs to handle that & to also hopefully play her part in doing something about it.