On the way to taking K to school this morning we were listening to Neil Diamond’s America (he loves it and I have to admit I am a little proud).
As we were singing along, he asked: “If we are already here, why are we coming to America?”
I responded: “We have not always been here, we had to come.”
K: “You mean like the Native Americans.”
Me: “No the Native Americans are the ones who have always been here, we… well not actually us, but people from Europe came and took their land.”
K: “They took their land?!”
K: “You mean like Christopher Columbus?”
K: “He wasn’t that smart, he thought he was in China when he got here… but it is actually the kings and queens fault because they just wanted more money and to be rich.”
Me: “You are correct.”
K: “So if we took their land, what happened to them? Did they get pushed into the ocean?”
Me: “No, they just kept getting pushed further and further back with less and less land. So they have so much less land now.”
K: “Mom, that is so sad and wrong. We need to do something for them.”
Was our discussion of history simplified? Yes, but what wasn’t simplified was his understanding of taking something from someone else is wrong. Also what was not simplified was his understanding of helping those who have been wronged. I know life is complicated, but my five-year-old has made me realize sometimes life is really that simple and we choose to complicate it. Maybe we complicate it because then we don’t feel the need to take action? Maybe we complicate it because we don’t know what we need to do? What I do know is we will now be looking at how as a family we can help Native Americans. A trip to New Mexico (my home state) in two weeks will be the perfect way to continue our discussion of Native Americans.