tough questions

I was working in the kitchen and listening to the convention coverage on the radio, but when it  was time for Clinton’s speech, I went to watch it on TV.  D popped out of his room (I had put him to bed an hour earlier) and asked if he could watch it with me.  I had already promised he could stay up tomorrow to watch Obama’s speech, and he doesn’t need to be up early tomorrow morning, so I said ok.

So we sat down to watch and after a few minutes the questions start:

  • Where are the soldiers again?
  • Why did you say that "we’re in Iraq"? (I meant the U.S.; he interpreted it as him and me.)
  • Is Iraq in America?
  • Why are American soldiers in Iraq? [I try to answer in a way that gives my opinion, but acknowledges that there’s disagreement about this.]
  • Why can’t we just leave?
  • Someone said that the reason we can’t leave is that they might follow us.  Daddy said that our army is too strong and they can’t do that.  Is that right? [I say yes, our army is the strongest in the world.  But then I try to explain about terrorism, and September 11…  He’s seen The Sphere and knew that buildings fell down, but I believe this is the first time he’s understood that it was intentional.]
  • Did the people who flew the airplanes die as well?
  • Good.  I think they deserved to die.  Do you think so?
  • [Looking at the cat…]  How do they move their tails?
  • But where do the tails come from?
  • What’s "evolve"?
  • Do you know about the birds that sit on top of sand iguanas?
  • [I unpause the TiVo and try to watch some more of the speech.]
  • Why do the parents have to die so their children can be ok?  [I explain that "starve" doesn’t really mean that the parents died.]
  • Why do needs have to depend on money?

7 Responses to “tough questions”

  1. Andrea Says:

    Hard questions for a young kid.
    How did you answer the last one? I have no idea whta I would say, myself, since I still don’t understand it.

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    I told him that I agreed with him — I don’t think people should go without basic needs — food, shelter, health care — even if they don’t have money. And that when I go to work, I’m trying to make it so they won’t. And that I think Obama agrees with him too, and that’s part of why we want him elected president.
    I’ll explain the bigger stories of capitalism and socialism some other day…

  3. Colleen Says:

    Oh man. I will be so doomed when my daughters get older! There are an awful lot of questions for which I do not have good answers.

  4. bj Says:

    Ours this morning was me, telling my dad “People are stupid” (oh, about some political thing.
    My 4 yo overheard, and said “Hmh, if people are stupid, that means you are stupid.” (So there). I then tried to say “Other people are stupid.” So, then, he said “That means you’re saying I’m stupid.”
    At that point I had to admit that I’d said something I shouldn’t have and try to move on to a more nuanced and sophisticated argument.

  5. Amy P Says:

    How about “Some of the time, sweetie. Everybody’s stupid some of the time.”

  6. Amy P Says:

    I was explaining foreclosure and auto repossession to my daughter a couple weeks ago, spurred by her insistence that she was the unluckiest child in the world.

  7. Jackie Says:

    We explained why we were voting for Obama and not McCain a few weeks ago, specifically that Obama believes that you should be able to go to a doctor whenever you are sick, and that McCain thinks you should only be able to go if you have the money to pay. We also talked about how Obama thinks war is a not a good way to solve problems, and how that’s we believe too– entirely glossing over how I still don’t find Obama progressive enough for my taste!

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