Sunday, May 27, 2007

"Who's Avery?": A Lesson on the Civil War

Perhaps we have been living in the South too long.

Today I overheard our oldest boys (Ford, 6, and Owen, 4) discussing the Civil War.

"Sorry, Owen, but the North wins," said Ford. "Slavery is bad."

Apparently this is a line straight out of Night at the Museum, but it took me by surprise nonetheless.

Owen said, "Who's Avery?"

"No, Owen, it's slavery, not Avery."

"Why is the slavery guy bad?" Owen said.

"It's not person, Owen. It's…it's….I don't know what it is."

Then they both yelled in unison, "Mom, what's slavery?"

This is the kind of moment for which no parenting book can prepare you. How do I explain slavery to a 6- and 4-year old?

I chose my words carefully. But before I tell you what I said, let me set the scene. The boys were coloring in the kitchen. I was sitting 8-feet away on the living room couch. In the airconditioning. Dustin was outside mowing the lawn. In the heat.

"Slavery is complicated," I said to the boys. "It means that one person makes another person do all the work…"

No, wait, what if they say, "Well you make Dad do all the work?" I thought and revised:

"I mean, it's when one person keeps another person from doing something they want to do so that they can instead do what the slave-keeper wants."

Oops. Did the boys hear me telling Dustin this morning that he couldn't go golfing because there was work to do?

"What I mean, boys, is that a slave was someone who plowed the field…"

No, too close "mowing the lawn".

"I mean, slaves did the hard work that no one else wanted to do…"

No, can't say that either.

Finally, I stood up and said, "Never mind. Aren't you guys too young to watch Night at the Museum anyway?"

Then I left the room and made a mental note to check the movie's rating next time I saw it.


Anonymous said...

That is so funny! Kids will say the funniest things! I think my husband knows how Justin feels but we won't tell him that. After all it is his job to do those things outside. It's not a matter of treating them like slaves but, sometimes they need a push to get their job done. We do it all when the're gone for six months at a time.

Thanks for the laughs and what a fantastic idea to have this blog.

NAS Brunswick officer's wife.

Jen M. said...

Okay, just found your blog via Alice's blog. I like! I'm not an Air Force Wife anymore, but I'm coming here next time the Bachelor airs ;) I never remember to watch it!

Anonymous said...

I've been looking for new blogs and there has not been one in a while. I hope all is well!

Anonymous said...

Are you no longer using this blog??????