Saturday, March 15, 2008

The News

The boys and I shared an unusual moment last night: We watched the evening news on ABC. Normally, we're still cleaning up from dinner at that hour, or playing with Legos, or at Tae Kwon Do, or yoga, or...anyway. So last night we found ourselves with some extra time to unwind together on the couch, and it was mom's terribly exciting choice of news that won. And while I would have rather watched Avatar, I chose the news because I wanted to see its take on the latest in Tibet.

The report was grim. As of last night, there were two known fatalities--protesters killed by police. At the next commercial break, Nolan turned to me and said, in his quietest mouse voice,

"Mommy, what did the police do to the people?"

My heart broke. "What did they say on the news, baby?" I asked him in an equally quiet mouse voice.

"The shot the people."

"That's correct. They did."

"But why?"

"Yeah," Sean echoed. "Why did they do that?"

Oh, Lordy.

"Okay...well, let me get the globe."

I marched over the play area and grabbed their globe. I really love globes, especially old ones that show all the various configurations of our world's political power struggles. The kids are fortunate to have a recent one, but I still love the one in their room that has West Germany and the USSR.

I plunked the globe down in front of them, muted the TV, and told the kids to gather 'round.

"So the police in Tibet killed people, right?"

"Right," they chimed together.

"And you want to know why?"


"Well, I'll show you. But first let me say that all policemen don't kill people. Please remember that."

"Okay!" said Noly. Sean seemed more skeptical, and I honestly can't blame him.

"Sooooo..." I spun the globe and found China. "This big country here is China."

"China?" said Nolan.

"China. And this here--" I pointed "--is Tibet."

"Where the people were shot?"

"Yes. Tibet is like the Rebel Alliance. China is like the Empire. The police are like storm troopers, and the people they shot were like Luke and Leia."


"So it's like Star Wars," observed Sean. "Except it's real."


They didn't say much after that. But they were glued to the rest of the news program, so curious about all the things going on in the world and their country--at least as far as a 30-minute news program is concerned. Of special interest was the story about a Starbucks barista who gave a kidney to a customer.

After answering questions about the story and explaining how we're usually born with two kidneys, can survive with just one but will die with none, Sean said,

"So that's like the lady cut out her heart and gave it to the other lady?"

"Sort of, honey. It's like she cut out half her heart, so that they would both have enough to live."

"Wow. Cool."

I'll say.


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