Recently, on the way home from the mall one evening as my children and I were groovin' to various tunes, (Black Eyed Peas, The Jackson 5, Thievery Corporation, Suzanne Vega, Jamie Cullum...) my oldest son, Miles asked me, "So Dad, what's going on in Libya right now?" I looked back at my Miles in the rearview mirror and thought to myself, "Did my 7 yr. old just ask me what is going on in Libya right now?" That’s cool!” So, I began sharing with Miles what the current situation was with the war in Libya. I told him how Muammar Gaddafi had been in power for 40 years and how the Libyan people were tired of him, his abuses, and how they wanted to have greater freedom and more money for their families. I shared with Miles how the war had been going on since February and how the “Rebel Forces” had forced Gaddafi and his family from their homes and were gaining more control of Libya. But, that Gaddafi and his supporters were not leaving Libya without fighting back and this is why there is a war in Libya. Miles then asked me, “So Dad, who do we want to win?” I replied the “Rebel Forces.” Miles then shouted, “Yes, and they're winning!” I replied, “Yes, they are.”
Then Miles asked, “So, is what is going on in Bahrain similar to what is going on in Libya?” Again, I looked at Miles in the rearview mirror smiled and said to myself, “Way to make the connection between the two conflicts.” I explained to Miles that the situation in Bahrain was a bit more complicated. You had two groups of people from the same religion the Shiite and the Sunni who were not getting along. The Shiite people were larger in numbers than the Sunni people, but the Shiite people in Bahrain had less power. There was a conflict in Bahrain because the Shiite people wanted more access to better jobs, more control in making decisions regarding their country, and more freedom in general. Miles then asked again, “ So, who do we want to win?” I replied, Mommy and Daddy want people to have equal rights and equal access to good jobs and all opportunities, but more importantly, we want the fighting to stop.”
Miles then thought about this for a moment then he turned to his younger brother and they resumed their in-depth, enthusiastic, and rather humorous discussion about all things related to Star Wars and Spongebob Squarepants. As I continued the drive home, it really hit home to me about how children soak up the environment around them. And in relation to my own children, how living overseas I believe, has contributed to Miles’ awareness of what is going on around him and in the world. Eleanor and I enjoy watching Al Jazeera News and of course Al Jazeera has devoted a lot of coverage to the Arab Spring and the conflicts in Libya and Bahrain. Eleanor and I discuss these issues at home and I’m sure Miles hears us discussing these conflicts. I also enjoy reading the International Herald Tribune and Miles is always taking it away from me as I read it so that he can practice his reading by reading the headlines. For a 7 yr. old, Miles seems to be pretty informed and I am very happy and pleased by this. Miles can also hold his own in a conversation about Star Wars and Spongebob with his little brother. Children; always watching and listening and as a parent, I need to always be mindful of this.