Monday, January 08, 2007

Army = Imminent Death

Because Steve's in the National Guard and has to go to drill one weekend a month, I'm left alone at church one out of every four weeks to teach the 8-9-year-olds in Primary. I explained to them a few times when he isn't there that Bro. Perry is in the Army and has to do "army stuff" one Sunday every month. The first couple of times they all had questions about what he was doing, if he had to fight in the war, and even if he had killed anyone. After a few months, the questions died down and they got used to Bro. Perry doing "army stuff" that day.

Except for one boy. Without fail, every time I mentioned that Steve was doing "army stuff", he would ask,

"Is he going to die?"

"No," I would tell him.

"But he was in the war, right?"

"For a little while, yes. But he probably won't have to go back."

Then the questions would end. Until the next drill weekend.

I found this sort of funny because this boy is a handful in class, and I knew he probably wasn't overly concerned about Steve's safety. More like, he wanted to talk about "tough" stuff, like people dying at war. But at the same time, if he would have asked me that during Steve's deployment, I would have cried every time.

Anyway, this year we have a new class. And it was also a drill weekend. I introduced myself to the kids and told them where Bro. Perry was. These kids are a lot more shy than my last class, so they didn't ask me anything.

Except for one girl, who happens to be the little sister of the inquisitive boy in my last class and equally as rambunctious.

"Is he going to die?"

"No, " I said.

"A lot of people die in the Army, " she replied.

"True. But there are a lot more people who come back safe. Bro. Perry was there for over a year and he's OK."

"I think about half of the people in the Army die," was her 8-year-old conclusion.

. . . til next drill weekend.


Anonymous said...

I used to teach primary in my last ward. It's funny how kids express what they hear about and see in the news. When we would wander off topic and start talking about some kind of social issue, I would hear stuff like, "It's those stinkin' terrorists", or "The terrorists made me do it." It of course was all in humor, but I was just waiting to hear one of them say something akin to "smoke 'em out of their holes". When kids grow up with a word like "terrorist" or "terrorism" so strongly embedded in their vocabulary, you know that the propaganda machine is working. Equally, it's sad when the kids in your class have so far lived half their lives, and will probably continue to grow up, with war, or at least the threat of war, being such a constant aspect of living. I have a friend at school who got back from the Middle East a few years ago. From everything he's told me about it all, let's hope hubby stays home and away from all the monkey business out there.

Cassia said...

Wow. Makes me wonder if that comes up often at home, or if they know someone else in the army. I hope she isn't as trying as her older brother! Let me know if you ever need someone to help out of drill weekends--though you did a magnificent job dealing with the last class by yourself! :)