After a few rounds of hopscotch, I headed to the garden and left her with a same-aged friend for outdoor adventures, likely with an argument or two. After a bit of pruning (don't think I really know what I'm doing in this garden), I noticed that he had captured her attention as he rambled and she sat engaged and speechless. This is not exactly normal behavior for these two, so I decided to move to the other side of the garden and have a listen. What can he possibly be discussing that has her so enthralled?
I was shocked. He was telling stories of World War II. I'm still unsure of what he said before I began eavesdropping, but when I tuned in, he was describing people being forced onto trains and people being burned alive in ovens. He was confident. He had details. He is six. Finally, Young One, not sure what to say about this, asked him: "How do you know this? Who told you these things?" Evidently, his mathematics teacher is his source of information. Having recently observed Holocaust Remembrance Day at the end of January, this seems plausible that he learned it in school. I distracted them both and changed the direction of the conversation.
Wow. These children are six-years-old. What good can possibly come of explaining the horrid details of a concentration camp to a six-year-old child? I don't get it. I believe in being honest with children, but how can a six-year-old possibly process, possibly understand, possibly conceive these horrors without understanding the context? I don't believe in avoiding tough topics with children, but I do believe adults are responsible to have an understanding of what is age-appropriate, and in my humble opinion, gory details of concentration camps are not appropriate for first graders. My opinion is supported by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, by the way.
Later that day his mom stopped by for a visit. I described the exchange to her, and she confirmed that he has indeed been obsessed with the topic since hearing it at school. He has also become extremely worried and fearful.
I wish people would think more, I really do.