The questions are getting more challenging to answer. And to think, she’s not even five yet.
I haven’t purposely sheltered Sam from the current events happening in the world. We’ve just always focused on her current day-to-day concerns like sharing cookies, or learning her new ballet steps and being polite. I don’t underestimate her ability to understand, but at the same time it wasn’t something that I thought to casually mention on the drive home from school or over Mac n’ Cheese. It could also be my own flee response / in-denial way of dealing with all these things, I don’t know.
I suppose though it’s unavoidable. Two days ago I volunteered to be part of the service Sam’s Kinder batch was having in honor of Mother Mary’s birthday. Coming back to my Alma Mater brought back a lot of memories of what growing up in that school was like. And it also was surprising to see how much the school has changed after all these years of being away. And yet some things were also still the same. We used to have masses during Mary’s birthday back then too.
For that morning, we got introduced to a “new” form of service for the Kindergarten students. The children are brought to the chapel, taught the proper demeanor, but are not put through the rigor of the full consecration yet. There was no priest, but there was a “scaled down” version of all the parts of the mass up to the offertory. It retrospect it makes sense, and it’s a clever way to slowly introduce them to the ways of our faith. I quite liked it, and it all the more validated the reasons we chose this school for Sam.
I was part of the Prayers of the Faithful and the Offertory, and so we sat at the side of the newly renovated Chapel, where lectors normally sit. Sam and I could see each other from her position on the mat.
The girls’ Christian Living teacher did the introductions of why we were there and the reasons we were celebrating. In the middle of it, I drew a long breath. Their teacher pulled up a slide and told the class that the third reason we were there was to pray for world peace. “Our Pope has called for it because of all the fighting and unrest that is happening in the world, and children’s prayers are the purest and the strongest kind. So we must join in and pray,” she told the girls.
Now we pray at home, every night. And before meals. Sam and Jamie know this and why it’s important. But as I mentioned before — we just pray about the things that are age-appropriate.
“Please make it sunny today so I can go to school.”
“Please give dad money so he can buy Fish Food for Red.”
“Please teach Jamie to share her toys with me.”
Simple things. There may be values behind it. We talk about taking turns and listening and being polite to guests. We talk about being kind to others… but we’ve (I’ve) never discussed world peace — or the concept of death for that matter. Sam only fully understood it I think after watching Charlotte’s Web. She was inconsolable for 15 minutes and wouldn’t let go of me after the part when Charlotte died.
But back to current events. Of course I caught Sam’s eye just as her teacher finished that statement and knew right away she was going to ask me about it. And I knew she wouldn’t let the topic go until she clearly understood it.
So here I am, searching for ways to explain to an almost 5-year old why the Pope is calling for World Peace. Why does Syria have bad people. And who is fighting and why. Will the fighting come to us. And where is Zamboanga.
“God, please make the bad people stop and go away. And please tell them it’s not ok to hurt others. Keep us safe from harm, Amen.”
In her own words, I guess she understands.
Then again, who says current issues aren’t age appropriate? The earlier they understand the values (or lack of them) behind all of the trouble the world is in today, maybe they will grow up and create a better world for themselves. Maybe it’s time to be a little bit more current-event conscious.
How would you explain world peace in light of what’s happening now to your child?