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France, hoods, whatever

April 12, 2011

What to do when the Lent topic is sex trafficking? It’s bad enough that I have an upcoming project dealing with this issue that I haven’t been completely forthright about with the kids, but to willingly bring it up with 10, 7, and 4 year old minds seems a bit much, even for me.

The scene is dinner. One is complaining that the meatballs are “roasted” (an ignorant way of saying burnt), another has routinely excused herself to the nightly bathroom duty, and a third is rattling off math problems to stump the 4 year old. Husband is gone going on day 11- 6 more to go. And I realize, I’m bored to death! This must be much of the impetus to the conversation spins I take us down.

Me: So, guys. I heard something today in the news, that happened in a country called France, and I want to know your opinion.

Aidan: Did this come from “Spiderman Abi’s blog?”

Me: No, you mean Bahadir? Spiderman Abi was Ayhan. And, no. I read it in the New York Times.

Aidan: What? You read the New York Times? We don’t get the New York Times!

Me: Yes, I get it online, in my email.

Ella: YOU have email?

Me: THIS IS NOT THE POINT! Listen. France has decided that Muslim women are not allowed to where head coverings anymore.

Aidan: Well, do they want to?

Me: Well, some do out of choice, but others are forced to by their husbands.

Aidan: Well, WHO cares if they wear hoods or not? That’s stupid. Oh, we’re going to really change things if we ban the hood!

Ella: People should have the choice to wear what they want to wear. If they want to wear the hood, they should be allowed to wear it and if they don’t, they shouldn’t have to.

Me: It’s not a hood. Don’t say hood.

Aidan: It IS a hood! In Afghanistan, they wear hoods!

Me: (and you wonder where they get the need to argue semantics?) No, they wear burkas. Hoods are something attached to the rest of your robe or coat, but a scarf or burka is something that goes over the head! OH, this is not the point! How do we protect those who don’t want to, but allow freedom for those who do?

Me: You know guys, Ataturk (a family hero) did this when he was forming Turkey. He wanted to have a separation of religion and government. He didn’t allow women to wear head scarves in government buildings. Just like when America was founded. The founders of our country may have been Christians, but they wanted to have a separation of religion and government too. Because look at countries like Iran…

Ella: Eye Ran

Me: No, Iran. (again with semantics!)

Me: Iran and Afghanistan under the Taliban… they have religion and government tied together. So the Koran says, a thief’s hand should be cut off, and they do it! Or a man who leaves his wife and goes to another woman, the woman should be stoned, and they stoned her!

Ella: WHAT? What’s that?! What about the man!!!!!

Me: The point is that when you separate the two, people have freedom to worship who they want and believe what they want and those who are in power are not able to carry out scary beliefs that their holy book says.

And then, suddenly, we were done. One left, without a word. The one performing her duty, quite possibly was still in there. And the third grabbed the class book (related, I learn later, because the protagonist is a Sudanese Lost Boy) and began reading aloud.

How we went from math quizzing to hoods to separation of church and state is humorously, so normal!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2011 10:49 pm

    haha. Here was my conversation with Henry:

    “God is so good. God is so good. God is so good. He’s so good to me.”
    “Does you going to give God beeens?”
    “God is so good! Does you going to give him beeens?”

    (Henry gets beans when he has behaved well in his various classes. He is a little trouble maker.)

    • Beth Bruno permalink
      April 13, 2011 4:01 pm

      That’s hilarious Kay! Oh, the conversations we have with the young!

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