I had never seen the movie 'Bednobs and Broomsticks' before, and we picked it up only because Ruby was taken by the picture of the flying bed on the cover of the DVD. We popped it in to watch on a sleepy, after a full day, early evening. The movie is really dated, having been made 40 years ago, but told a story that was an odd choice for a children's musical. It's about some kids who's aunt is killed during WWII by a bomb that fell on London, this after their parents had been killed in the same war. They take up residence with an apprentice witch in the country-side. At one point a car is trying to get through a check point and the old duffer who's guarding home and hearth is ensuring that no, with his accent it sounded like he was saying, 'nazzies' get by him.
Later on Ruby asked, "Who are the nasties?'
My first thought was how history might have been changed if political parties were described by their character rather than their propaganda.
My second thought was ... oh, my, God. This little girl will one day need to know about the 'nasties' ... who bombed London and murdered by the millions. This little girl will have to know about prejudice and hatred and violence. This little girl has to grow into a world who's conscience is bruised so badly that healing may not be possible.
This little girl who thinks that ramps are fun because she can ride down them on the back of a wheelchair ...
This little girl who has a friend named Mohamed who watches out for her when she is on her bike ...
This little girl who believes that God is good and that Jesus wants us to always be kind ...
This little girl who laughs easily, who plays with abandon, who screams on roller coasters ...
She has to learn about the 'nasties'. And I don't want her to.
I want her to keep believing in good, to keep thinking that kindness wins, to keep helping out people because its right.
I want her to hold on to the world as she sees it for as long as she can. A world where there is chocolate. A world where she gets hugs when she needs them. A world where she sleeps safely, untroubled by the thought of the morrow coming.
I do not believe that children are 'innocent' ... I believe that children can simply see the possible for what it is - something only achieved by an act of collective 'will'. I believe that children see the 'lie' of impossible for what it is - adulthood's resignation from personal and collective responsibility. Ruby believes that good will happen because she believes that we, adults, want good. I used to believe that too.
It is important to answer questions when honestly asked. I said, 'The nasties were bad people who did bad things.' Ruby nodded her head, then she said, 'Their moms should hug them more.' And that was that. She had a solution and we moved on.
And I resolved that, for now at least, I'm going to read the blurbs on the back of DVDs a little more carefully. The time will come that she needs to know. But not now. Not yet.