I wonder constantly how my children process this world they’ve been born into. I feel very in touch with my own childhood perspective, but my kids are not me. Our oldest, Elora (9), has my penchant for sarcasm and big words, but she’s much more self-assured and creative than I was. She sees everything as an art project.
Here’s her latest (click to enlarge):
To me, a calendar tells me what day it is. To Elora, it’s an opportunity to highlight the things that are most important to her and illustrate her life. April Fool’s Day gets a “ha ha!” Earth Day gets a drawing of the Earth with what looks like little kids around it. And Holocaust Remembrance Day gets…
Wait, what is that? Let’s take a closer look:
Confused, this morning I asked Elora what she had drawn. We’ve talked about Hitler and the Nazis before after watching some Twilight Zone episodes, but I couldn’t remember ever talking to her about the Holocaust. Judging by the thought bubble in the drawing, it looked to me like she’d worked out that April 19th is a day for pondering. What’s more, the sad, downcast face of the girl in the picture seemed to indicate that Elora had some idea that this wasn’t the day for thinking happy thoughts.
But what’s in the thought bubble? To me, it looked like a hole and a person about to jump into it. Elora set me straight.
“It’s a little kid playing kickball.”
“What?” I asked. “Why?”
“Because that’s what we did that day at school when I drew it.”
Basically, she had no clue what the Holocaust was and filled in the blank with the first thing that popped across her mind, effectively making Holocaust Remembrance Day into that day when we reflect sadly upon the tragedy of lost kickball games.
I explained to her what the Holocaust actually is and, knowing Hitler to be a pretty messed up dude, she accepted it without surprise and got dressed for school.
What strange thought avenues did your childhood filter lead you to? I remember seeing the blinking red light of a jet plane in the night sky on Christmas Eve and being convinced it was Rudolph. Took me years to work through that one. Got one of your own?