By Heather O.
We’re trying, honestly we are. We are trying to raise a literate, eduated, well adjusted child who is familiar with the scriptures. So, let’s start with the Book of Mormon, shall we? Dh got some cute little children’s illustrated version of the Book of Mormon, so we started at the beginning.
J: Hey, that guy has a sword!
Me: Yes, his name is Nephi.
Me: (trying to turn the page, with J pushing it back)Um, yeah, he’s going to kill that other man. His name is Laban.
J: Why is he going to kill him? I thought Nephi was a prophet.
Me: Yeah, he is, but, um, Laban was a real bad guy.
J: Is that why Nephi is going to kill him? Because Nephi is a good guy, and Laban is a bad guy?
Me: Yes, that’s it.
J: What do those words on the bottom say?
Me: ‘And God told Nephi to k–” Hey, let’s be done with scriptures, okay?
We picked up another educational book we got at Barnes and Noble, which describes some early history of Virginia using a cartoonish, kid friendly medium. Things were going pretty well, until it got to the part about tobacco plantations.
J: Hey, why is that man chained to that other man?
Me: Well, they were slaves.
J: What are slaves?
Me: They were people who were forced to do all the work for the whole house, for everybody.
J: Where did they come from?
Me: Africa, mostly.
J: What’s Africa? Is it a place full of slaves? How did that man make him work for him?
Now, I’ll admit, slavery is a little easier to explain than Nephi being ordered to kill Laban, but boy, it sure got into some sticky areas pretty fast. And as I was discussing the whole thing with DH, he agreed that those are hard lessons, and I asked him if he thought there was another way to describe it all. He shrugged and said, “How do you teach a child about evil and death in this world? And when is the best time to do it?”
It’s a tough one, I gotta admit. As we’ve been talking about euphemisms and tiptoeing around different issues, how do you tiptoe around the big ones, like the reality of bad guys, the pain of death, the spectre of war? And when will you know if your kid is old enough to handle it? Is it 5 years old? 10 years old? Age 35?
Basically, the way I handled it was the next day I said screw it with the educational stuff, let’s just rot his brain with computer games. No death or destruction there, right?
J: Hey, mom, I found this new game, and it has tanks and airplanes and guns in it! And hey, I just got a new weapon. What does N-U-K-E mean?
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