peace train

both BC and hellboy have started camp this week. so far, the only casualty involved would be hellboy’s swim trunks and rash guard, which he lost the very first day and which are not present in any of the lost and found bins. i’ll chalk it up to his inexperience and try to not fret, considering he was growing out of that set anyway.

hellboy lucked out. his best girlfriend from kindergarten, M, is in his group at camp. on the first day, i hid behind a tree, stalker-helicopter mom that i am, watching the group get organized. hellboy had a deathgrip on M’s hand, which another little girl didn’t like very much. the other little girl, who i found out later was M’s friend from preschool, was very much interested in tearing this couple asunder. ultimately, though, they’ve all apparently settled their differences. besides, hellboy has made friends with one very nice-sounding little boy and another little boy, who curiously started out their friendship by kicking hellboy in the nuts while in the post-pool shower portion of the day. (i have had friendships start in even odder ways, so i guess i will take a deep breath and see where this one goes.)

madame, as is typical, knew no one in her group when she started. [how wonderful for the moms (and dads!) who get themselves organized enough in january to get their kids together with other children at camp. this was not a year like that in this house.] fortunately, you could drop BC in a crowd of millions and she would make a life-long friend (if not several) by day’s end. (this of course would be thanks to my gene pool contributions.) so i don’t usually worry about BC in new situations. she goes through the same motions i do — she frets that she knows no one, then she just finds someone who looks like they could do with a friend, and voila! instant social scene.

this year, BC has already made her friend for the session. per usual, i asked BC which local school her new friend A is from. mommy, she replied, A is from saudi arabia. we have lots and lots of people from all over the world in these here parts, so i figured, sure, she’s from there, but where does she live now?

she lives in saudi arabia, girlfriend replied, getting irritated. her family is here for the summer and they sent her to camp.

alrighty. well, that’s got to be interesting, huh? has she told you anything about saudi arabia? i asked.

yes, she was born in philadelphia, but her family is from saudi arabia. that makes her american because she was born here, right?

i replied, yep. how lovely — you might make a new penpal, i replied, hopefully. where is this going?

she’s muslim. i helped her out today and told her that she shouldn’t eat the pepperoni on the pizza they gave us for lunch. she can’t eat pork, either, but i don’t think she knew what pepperoni was. so i helped her. i remembered DiDi (BC’s beloved friend from daycare, who is really named kareem and who is apparently still the man she wants to marry) can’t eat pork because he’s muslim. so i figured she couldn’t, either.

i scratched my head a little. my parents never had to navigate these sorts of situations. well, that’s a mitzvah that you helped her keep with her beliefs, honey. and besides, her beliefs aren’t that much different than yours are. does she know you’re jewish?

sure, BC replied, i told her. but she doesn’t know what jewish means.

should i chalk it up to youth? should i chalk it up to purposeful omission? i don’t know. but i believe that peace happens, one person at a time. i have to be positive and hopeful and not make assumptions, not jump to any stupid or misguided conclusions. because peace no longer just starts with me.

it starts with my kids.


8 Responses to “peace train”

  1. That’s one of the things I love most about living in this area. The kids get to know other kids from everywhere and they just think of them as other kids, without preconceived notions about who they are supposed to like and not like for whatever arbitrary reason. Hopefully that vision will stay with them.

  2. Jen-Jen Says:

    Kids are wonderfully blind. My younger made a friend from the school bus who she wanted to invite over to play. She pointed to her friend’s house one day while we were out driving and thanks to modern technology I was able to obtain the family name and phone number online. The name I found was a standard, common Chinese surname. So trying to confrm I had the right family before I called I asked her, “Is this her last name?” She wasn’t sure. “Is your friend Asian?” She didnt know what that meant. “Does she look Asian?” No clue what Asian looked like. “You know, does she look like Aunt Chee?” Still clueless. “You know Aunt Chee looks different from us? She has dark straight hair and different eyes?”. Nope, never, ever noticed that Aunt Chee looks a little unlike us and was utterly perplexed at my questions and her friend did not at all remind her of Aunt Chee. She just didn’t see anything in Aunt Chee or her friend that was dissimilar to our pasty-white caucasian features.

    Obviously we were getting nowhere so I called anyway – yes I did have the right family. Came to learn that the dad is half Chinese, the kid is a quarter Chinese with big, blue almond shaped eyes and curly black hair. So phooey on Mommy!!

  3. Connor was once taken into a tent and given a headbutt as the start of a friendship. The other boy’s mom was horrified, Connor was confused, but they get along now.

  4. i once saw a show about a camp (maybe kibbutz?) where israeli and palestinian kids both went. the idea was that they’d get to know each other as people the rest would follow. fast-forward to adulthood, where the palestinian calls his childhood best friend a “settler” and therefore his “enemy,” and the israeli kid responds in kind. at least they had some nice summers before stupid reality set in.

  5. […] with peace train and american […]

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