Monday, August 29, 2011

Nazzies

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.

9 comments:

mybrainyourbrain said...

I learned very early that people are evil and the world is cruel, today I try to believe some people are good and the world is neutral, sometimes I can, most times I can't, it makes me happy to know that some kids dont think like that and have people who love them letting them believe innocent good things for longer, in the future these children will know reality but will have faith and hope too in the goodness of things, those innocent good days make a difference.

Heather Carley said...

http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/deselecting-our-children/article2136096/?service=mobile

Hi Kathie,
I am a long time fan of your work and a parent of a child who has Down syndrome. I wondered if you'd seen this recent article in the Globe and Mail. Just as upsetting as the article was the COMPLETE lack of response I got when I posted it on twitter multiple times (I have a large disability network) and also on facebook. Not one comment or question. I feel quite nearly manic about the need to act in some way about this. I don't want my kids to grow up in a world where any person or group of people is so devalued that the idea of their extermination elicits No Comment. I am pro-choice bit this is something quite different...Hello Hitler. The nasties are alive and well. My kids are experiencing the attitude of devaluing on a daily basis. Kali hears & feels how people talk to her and about Down syndrome'. Her sisters hear it too. I can't shield them from it and so we must talk about it. The nasties have succeeded in making the extermination of Down syndrome socially acceptable. More than that it is now a social responsibility.

Is this something that you could or would comment on?


Heather Carley

Heather Carley said...

http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/deselecting-our-children/article2136096/?service=mobile

Hi Kathie,
I am a long time fan of your work and a parent of a child who has Down syndrome. I wondered if you'd seen this recent article in the Globe and Mail. Just as upsetting as the article was the COMPLETE lack of response I got when I posted it on twitter multiple times (I have a large disability network) and also on facebook. Not one comment or question. I feel quite nearly manic about the need to act in some way about this. I don't want my kids to grow up in a world where any person or group of people is so devalued that the idea of their extermination elicits No Comment. I am pro-choice bit this is something quite different...Hello Hitler. The nasties are alive and well. My kids are experiencing the attitude of devaluing on a daily basis. Kali hears & feels how people talk to her and about Down syndrome'. Her sisters hear it too. I can't shield them from it and so we must talk about it. The nasties have succeeded in making the extermination of Down syndrome socially acceptable. More than that it is now a social responsibility.

Is this something that you could or would comment on?


Heather Carley

Heather Carley said...

What the heck? I'm sorry my comment was posted twice and I do know your name is Dave!! I have no explanation for Kathie except to blame the ridiculous word predictor thingee on my iPhone.

H

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Yes the nasties have been and are still here. And some day Ruby will have to learn that history because if she doesn't she won't recognize the nasties and their work when she sees them. My immediate thought on reading your post Dave was that you can introduce her to Victor Frankl at the same time - to give her hope.

It is a daunting thought that a child has to learn that there is evil in the world. But better that than to have her naieve and vulnerable.

Heather - people value individual choice over the value of all human life - and the myth out there is that Down Syndrome is a terrible thing. When my daughter was diagnosed with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome the doctor told us it was "even worse than Down Syndrome" - which didn't have the expected impact because I had a beloved brother with Down Syndrome so it was like telling me it is worse than blue eyes.

There are people in this world who I love and who also happen to have Down Syndrome. Quite frankly the world would be a much poorer place without them. What will be the next "imperfection" that we eliminate? and where does it go from there?

Colleen

Kristine said...

Wow, that's what the movie's about? I remember watching it as a young kid, and not having the slightest idea what it was about. I knew there was a magic bed, and sometimes cartoons. And I was upset that my bed didn't have any bedknobs, so it couldn't be magic.... I have no memory of the nasties, and I didn't figure out the nasties in Sound of Music until much later either.

Baba Yaga said...

Ouch. It's always hard to find the right explanation - but I think yours was the right one.

I'm uncomfortable, though, about ducking something which (if my memory of the book is any basis for judging the film) is a delight for a child, on the basis that it refers to darker things. She will, eventually, have to know about the extraordinarily nasties of this world, and that's a sad thing - in a way I hadn't quite realised until you said it. My nephew still imagines that the police are concerned with grown-ups committing childish infraction; the more serious ones aren't yet on his radar, and that's a good thing.

Both he and Ruby already know that there are nasties, however. (Children generally do, and it's quite clear from your posts that she, specifically, is observing the points at which people fail to be kind, or thoughtful; the points where they 'other' people or deny them respect.) Your answer made sense to her because she already understands - I hope, not yet too personally - that some people are nasty.

That's as much explanation as she needs, now; and it seems to me that, gradually, little bits of extra explanation (never an ounce more than needed), over the years when her own world is still safe-enough, will prepare her (a bit) for the day when she discovers the real horror of the world. I'm less sure that hiding all references will.

I might be wrong.

Ruby, however, isn't so very far off with "their mums should hug them more".

Dave Hingsburger said...

I agree with all of you that Ruby, and all kids, need to learn these things and that its important for her to have a 'real world' understanding of cruelty. But, like I said, she's still four. Many children in the world, by four, know cruelty as a constant companion, I grieve for them. Ruby will know, because she will demand to know, the truth. I believe I told her the truth - but over time, the truth will be drawn out in stark detail. But right now, she's four.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Four is way to young to know all about the nasties - you are right. We forget how young she is because she is such an "old soul".

Colleen