So, I had to talk to the kids about terrorism today. We’ve kept them sheltered til now. But now it starts to effect us. Now we are going to start to see the results of the refugee crisis in our part of the world. Now, more than ever, it is our responsibility to bravely model our beliefs.
That’s what I tried to get across, anyway. I talked about how the bad guys that made the attacks on Paris have been making attacks on other parts of the world for many years. People from those countries are trying to get away to a place where they can be safe. Safe places like the part of the world we live in. Arriving tonight, in fact. The first question: ”Will the bad guys follow the people here? And start fighting here?”
I said ”No, sweetie, they’re interested in the land where they are. They’re not interested in the people who are leaving.” I was bluffing a little. That is what we’re really all afraid of, right? Deep down I’m afraid, too. Too often and too close, these attacks. We talked some more, and broke it down into two scenarios: ”We” (the Norwegians) might be a bit uncomfortable having lots of new people living with and around us, people who look and talk and maybe act sometimes in ways we’re not used to. ”They” (the refugees) face injury or death if they go back. So I asked our seven-year-old — whose face had lit up just moments before at the idea that Norway could be ”different” with so many new people (”That would be cool!”) — I asked him, what he thought was the right choice? To accept being uncomfortable, or to send the people away?
”Ummm… I know! To be uncomfortable!!”
And I thought two things: 1) How lovely it was to hear that answer, even though surprising it was not, and 2) IS is not going to win. Not if we continue to teach our children to be kind when it’s uncomfortable. Not if we teach them to stand up to bullies. Not if we SHOW them to be kind, and to stand up to bullies for as long as we can.
Anyway, so I was scrolling my newsfeed after they were (finally) asleep, and saw some articles pop up about various states blocking the entry of Syrian refugees after the attacks in Paris. Because a Syrian could be a threat, or someone who is a threat could get in with the Syrians, etc. etc., spin the cycle of fear, etc.
(As an aside, I’m personally more terrified to send my kids to school in the U.S. where the likelihood is greater they’ll be shot by their own (half)countrymen than of being caught in a terrorist attack.)
I thought, ”Hey! I had this conversation today! This was the first fear my 7 year old and then my 5 year old had, too! Huh!” Interestingly enough, when I talked about it a bit more with them, their tune quickly turned to ”can we help?” Flesh of my flesh, our oldest started rummaging around in the cupboards in order to make eastern-inspired food (”indisk mat,” sa han, for you norskis :))
I strongly dislike politics because I strongly dislike conflict. And inefficiency. I’m not making a political statement. All I’m saying is that sometimes lawmakers echo the same fears as children. All I’m asking is if that is acceptable.