Learning never slows down around here, not even on Friday night. I was in the kitchen, cleaning up dinner when the Adventurer called to me.
“Hey Mom, wanna watch a documentary?”
This is a regular occurrence around here. I love documentaries. I don’t need much convincing to agree to this, regardless of the topic.
“Sure. Give me a minute to finish up.” I thought maybe she wanted to watch a documentary about traveling through Europe (we’ve watched quite a few of those) or about why schools stink (like in The War on Kids , Race to Nowhere and Waiting for Superman). Instead, she chose something that has been on her mind lately.
She wanted to understand why they hate the U.S. She wanted to understand the people, culture and government that could produce the current threats.
She wanted to know why.
We watched Nat Geo’s Inside look at North Korea on Netflix. It’s from 2006, but I don’t think much has changed for the people living there.
It was a little shocking for both of us.
Then we watched another, newer film that consisted of interviews with people who had escaped North Korea. They risked their lives and the lives of their extended families to free themselves. Their stories were filled with horror.
I wasn’t sure how my daughter would feel after watching this film.
Her focus changed from concern about being attacked to the people trapped, starving and lacking basic medical care. Why doesn’t anyone care about the people that are suffering? The thousands upon thousands who are locked away in work camps and shot on site for the most minor of errors. Why doesn’t anyone care that the people are starving and children are sick due to lack of proper nutrition?
She saw all the innocent lives being lost there already and was upset that there is no way for anyone to help. She kept asking why?
I couldn’t give her an answer that was satisfying.
We talked at length about North Korea, communism, various enemies of the U.S. and human rights.
And then an ant walked across the floor and she made me take it outside and not squish it. She told me that ants have a very sophisticated social system, that they are far more advanced than we realize and that if you kill one, another will come to carry their body back.
I think I tuned out when she watched that documentary.
She went on to say that if I killed the ants that I would be just as bad as North Korea, letting the innocent die for no good reason.
And then she laughed. “That was a hippie thing to say, wasn’t it?’
“Yeah, a little.” The intensity of our evening was starting to wear me out, but I ushered the ant (and his friend) out the front door.
“Wait, what if they go out there and reproduce and they all come back in? I don’t want that! You should have killed them! It’s not really the same is it?”
“It is and it isn’t. It depends on your belief system. Do you extend non-violence to every living creature? What do you think?”
She was quiet for a minute. I thought about how the mind of a teenage girl is fascinating and inspiring.
I wonder if Netflix has a documentary that can explain the adolescent mind to me?
“Life learning is about trusting kids to learn what they need to know and about helping them to learn and grow in their own ways. It is about respecting the everyday experiences that enable children to understand and interact with the world and their culture.” ~ Wendy Priesnitz