Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Dialog with a 4-year-old about Iraq

Scene: Me and the 4-year-old daughter B. in the car returning from Dairy Queen where we have picked up a "Welcome Home" ice cream cake for the homecoming party for Uncle Nick, who is home on leave from Iraq.
B.: Daddy, does Uncle Nick have a big job?

Me: Yes, he has a very big job.

B.: In... Iraq?

Me: Yes. He has a big, important job in Iraq.

B.: Oh.

B.: Is Uncle Nick a soldier?

Me: Yes. He's a soldier in Iraq.

B.: Oh. ... Does he have to fight?

Me: Sometimes. But only when someone wants to fight him.

B.: Who wants to fight him?

Me: The bad guys.

B.: Are there lots of bad guys in Iraq?

Me: There are some bad guys. But most of the people are good guys.

B.: What do they do with the bad guys? Do they kill the bad guys?

Me: ...

Me: ...

Me: They just try to catch the bad guys. They try to make them into good guys.

B.: Oh. So the bad guys won't be bad anymore.

Me: Right.

B.: Is Uncle Nick the only soldier?

Me: No. There are lots and lots of soldiers in Iraq.

B.: Like hundreds?

Me: More like thousands.

B.: Thousands? What's a thousands?

Me: That's a lot of hundreds altogether.

B.: What are their names?

Me: I don't know all of the soldiers' names. There are so many that it would be hard to know every name.

Me: My friend Bill from high school is a soldier. But there are lots more whose names I don't know.

B.: Oh.

B.: When are we going to eat the ice cream?
And... scene.

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  1. Being a former soldier myself, I have had this conversation a few times, about my brother (just back from Afghanastan), and for my daughter's 1st grade class on Veterans' Day.

    Numbers that huge are hard to explain. But the hardest question for me was, do you join the Army so you can fight? I joined for the service, no soldier in a sane mind WANTS to fight. Well ok, in a bar maybe, but not in a war.

    Kids, gotta love'em, law requires that we feed them. Stupid laws...

  2. LOL! Great conversation! You done good.

  3. It's poetic how the simple questions are the most complex to answer - especially when you can't use big words, complex ideas, and actually want to find the Truth.

    Great post.

    Hope your family is doing well and stay safe.

  4. "What are their names?"

    How cute it that?? And I like the pause/thought you gave before answering the question about killing the bad guys. I don't know if kids' cartoons are the same these days as they were for us, but I remember growing up with the natural inclination that if a guy was bad, it was the right thing to do to kill them. Or at least *try* to kill them! (That poor Wylie Coyote! I know most people think of him as being the bad guy, but look back at those cartoons...that road runner was an ASSHOLE!)


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