It’s one thing to be taught.
It’s a completely different thing to follow curiosity where it leads.
The other day I was in the car with the kids when we drove by a building and I spontaneously stated:
That is Lincoln Elementary School.
“Is that where all of the kids in Lincoln go to school?”
Actually, it’s a school for kids in North Platte. But the name of the school is Lincoln.
“There are a lot of things named Lincoln!”
Do you know WHY there are so many things by that name?
Our kids are five and eight. Although they recalled a couple of basic facts about President Lincoln and slavery, the significance of Lincoln’s impact on our life here-and-now was still a little fuzzy. After discussing the basics of the Civil War, Grant opened a new door and my heart went pitter-pat.
“It’s a good thing we don’t have slavery anymore!”
I wish that were the case, Grant.
We talked about modern-day slavery in December when Amelia and I participated in Dressember (read about that here), but this time felt different. This time the kids were engaged by their own curiosity. The little doors to their hearts were open and hungry for more. I held the sacred moment with tender conviction and shared that there are many people who have to work for no pay and under terrible conditions. I went on:
Recently IJM rescued children in Ghana who are your age. They were on boats where they were forced to fish all day long, every day. That’s why Amelia and I participate in Dressember. We wear dresses every day in December to help raise money to rescue more kids and grown-ups from slavery.
“What can boys do?”
So much, son.
There are intensely personal issues at play in this discussion. It confronts my consumerism, prejudice and self-deprecation. The weight of injustice is so heavy, I often ignore it.
The curiosity of my children persuades me to feel it.
Ah, but that is the inherent danger of following innocent curiosity where it leads. I might have to face that which I otherwise ignore. I might be confronted with my own inconsistency, prejudice and selfishness. I might have to change.
It’s not every day that I point out the name of an elementary school as we drive by. I’m not sure what compelled me to do so the other day. I felt the invitation to say something, so I did. I had no idea where the conversation would go – no agenda. We just kept responding to one another and let the conversation unfold.
And now I’m researching fair trade clothing and thinking about what my five-year-old boy can do to participate in the fight for freedom.
I wonder where their curiosity will lead next?
Wherever it is…I’m in!