I originally started this blog a few years ago to chronicle Noah's daily struggles with autism. It was a dark time in my life - a time when I felt that things would never get better. It was a time when I felt that all my hopes and dreams for my son and for our family had died. In my efforts to help Noah recover from autism, I began a journey that inadvertently led me to rediscover myself. I learned how to laugh again. How to dream again. How to live again. How to love again.

Autism Schmaustism. He's still our son.

This is a blog celebrating our family. Our kids. Our life.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Are the Kids Too Young to Learn About Slavery?

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but Noah loves biographies. I can read a Junie B. Jones book or a Captain Underpants book and he immediately leaves the room. But sit down and pop open a biography and he's all ears.

Lately I've been reading the In Their Own Words: Harriet Tubman biography to him each night. I find the whole In Their Own Words series so fantastic. Some books I've read aloud to Noah and it's a struggle just to get through them, but this series rocks!

The Harriet Tubman one has really moved me. I don't even remember learning this much in school... and now I really want to learn more about the Underground Railroad. And Noah seems pretty fascinated by it, too. If he'll sit through a chapter without screaming, flinging a toy, or running out of the room then you know it's got his attention!

Anyway, I was wondering if Eli is too young to learn about slavery. He doesn't have the attention span to sit through chapter books yet, but we use our dinner time to all sit around the table and discuss things that are important to us. I kind of want to bring up Harriet Tubman just because I find her fascinating and think it's a really important issue. Plus, we like to talk about the people Noah's learning about in a context outside of his books. I finished reading the In Their Own Words: Helen Keller book last week and we (all the kids) had some great discussions about Helen Keller and how she was able to achieve so much despite being blind and deaf.

Sooooo..... I'm just wondering if slavery is too sensitive a subject to bring up to a 5 and 6 year old? Eli is really sensitive, so I can't be too graphic.... but I don't even know how to bring it up in baby steps. I mean, he's a questioner, so if I casually say to Eli that I'm reading a book about Harriet Tubman to Noah then he's going to ask, "Who's Harriet Tubman?" And if I say "she was a former slave who helped bring over 300 slaves to freedom" he's going to want to know what a slave is....

Right now, he's so innocent and he has no concept of color or that in the past, white people in our country bought black people and used them as slaves. I mean... ugh... it was hard for me to even write that sentence. How do I explain that to him?

But at the same time, one of my greatest wishes is for my children to grow up loving all people and seeing the beauty in all people and I want them to despise racism. I hope they grow up with compassion and kind hearts and knowing that God loves all people and that all people should be treated equally.

They have friends who are Caucasian and African American and Hispanic and Asian. They don't know that races exist and I don't want to spoil that for them. But I while I do believe that all kids are inherently innocent and good, I know that they are going to be introduced to racism in their everyday life.

Remember when Eli was called "China Boy" on his first day of school????

I want to plant seeds of kindness and tolerance while they're young... but I still want to preserve their innocence as long as possible.

Any suggestions on how to broach this subject? Anything that I can read to slowly introduce the subject now... while saving the biography and other information until they get a bit older?

Or do I just sound like a nutball???

Okay, don't answer that! It's rhetorical. ;-)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Eli Has Other Plans...

Remember in my blog post a few days ago where I mentioned that I had plans on keeping Eli in public school for 1st grade?

We'll, Eli has other plans. He gave me a note that the "doctor" wrote on a "prescription pad" detailing exactly why he can't go back to school:

Translated as: "Eli's head is hurting. Tummy hurting. (He has a) mosquito bite and eye infection."

And, according to Eli, the only cure is for him to stay home and watch cartoons all day.

Is that boy dramatic or what?? ;-)

P.S. Yes, we WILL be working on spelling this summer... lol