What does an opinion on whether childhood is "the best years of your life" have to do with Denmark during WWII?
Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up:
Are people happier when they're kids than when they're grownups, Justin wants to know.
Some people think so, I say.
I think so, Justin says.
I don't, say I.
Why's that? Daniel wants to know.
Discussion of happiness ensues, and at one point I tell the kids that although I have a lot of good memories from my childhood, by far my best memories come from adulthood. My wedding. The day Daniel was born. The day Justin was born. Lots of other good memories.
And my happiest vacations? Well, I had fun at Disneyland and Disneyworld when I was a kid, but my happiest vacations of all were Disneyland and Hawaii as a mom.
And what about your honeymoon? Daniel wants to know.
What's a honeymoon? Justin wants to know.
Long discussion of honeymoons ensues. And yes, mine was wonderful. We went to Stratford, Ontario, and attended the Stratford Festival. Saw three plays, wandered around Stratford, had a great time.
What's the Stratford Festival
Long discussion of Stratford, England, Stratford, Ontario, and Shakespeare ensues. We touch upon theatre, Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo & Juliet, and The Merchant of Venice. A rather controversial play, that one.
What's controversial? Why is it controversial?
Merchant of Venice, hoo-boy. Brief plot description, Shylock, Antonio, The quality of mercy is not strained, Hath not a Jew eyes, If you prick us, do we not bleed?
Was Shakespeare anti-Semitic? Taking into consideration his era and culture? (This takes a while to discuss.)
Were the English as bad as the Germans towards the Jews? Justin wants to know.
No because the Germans had concentration camps, Daniel reminds him.
But how could the Germans be so evil? Justin wants to know.
Why wasn't I warned that some day I would have to try to discuss the nature of good and evil and the Holocaust with a six-year-old, I want to know.
Long discussion ensues, about how the Nazis got into power, about how ordinary people voted them in, and accepted what they were doing, and allowed them to escalate their hatred towards Jews, and in the end, ignored genocide perpetrated against their own countrymen and women and condoned the slaughter of one out of every three Jews in the world.
Why didn't anybody stop the Nazis? Justin wants to know.
People tried. Ordinary individual Germans tried, at great risk to themselves and with varying degrees of success. But as a country, they stood by and let it happen.
That's terrible, they both agree.
And it's something we have to remember about human beings, because we can be unspeakably evil. And we can also be horrifyingly willing to let evil be done by others.
And that's terrible.
But we also have to remember that human beings can, as individuals and as a group, also be unbelievably heroic. Like, say, the Danes
. Who, as a people, refused to allow their own Jewish citizens to be taken away, and managed to save almost all 7,500 of them from the death camps, risking their own lives for the sake of their neighbours and for the sake of their ideals.
There you go. From childhood v. adulthood, to Denmark in WWII. I love my kids.
As Chris said, it's Connections
, in our very own home.