Teaching Dorian about soldiers, resources and poverty

Dorian is increasingly curious about soldiers and guns. Given Anna’s job, and the number of UN peacekeepers we see patrolling around here, it’s inevitable.

Peacekeeping tap-tap

But it’s tricky to explain, without getting into uncomfortable territory.

D: “Why do they have soldiers?”
M: “So they can stop people fighting.”
D: “Why are they fighting?”
M: “Um. Because they don’t have enough money”.
D: “So they shoot them?”
M: “Well, they try not to shoot them.”
D: “Why do they have guns?”
M: “So that people listen to them.”
D: “Do they shoot the bad guys?”
M: “Well, they try not to shoot people. They try to put the bad guys in prison.”
D: “I wish we had a soldier in our house, to stop the bad guys”

Why don't they make toy peacekeepers?

D: “Why don’t they have enough money?”
M: “Because they are poor.”
D: “Why are they poor?”
M: “Because things don’t work so well here. And because some people ran away with the money.”
D: “Is Haiti broken?”
M: “Well, maybe a little bit… but you shouldn’t really say that. It’s not nice to say that.”
[Dorian has – to our great embarrassment – already explained to strangers that Haiti is broken and that Mummy is here to help fix Haiti]
D: “Why?”
M: “Because it might make some people sad.”
D: “Why does it make them sad?”
M: “Because they live here, and it is their country.”
D: “Do we live here?”
M: “Yes.”
D: “Why?”
M: “Because Mummy’s job is here.”
D: “Why?”
M: “Well, it is an interesting job.”
D: “She’s going to fix Haiti?”
M: “You shouldn’t say that.”


D: “Poor Haiti is broken”.
M: “Well, it’s not really broken; but it needs to get better. You shouldn’t say that. Just to Daddy.”
D: “The pavement is broken. The electricity is broken. The road is broken.”
M: “Yes. They need to fix things.”
D: “Why can’t they fix them?”
M: “Because they don’t have enough money.”
D: “Did someone run away with the money?”
M: “Some people did.”
D: “Why?”
M: “Because they were greedy.”
D: “Do we have money?”
M: “Some.”
D: “Do we have lots of money?”
M: “Not really. Just some.”
D: “I don’t want the people to run away with our money.”

There is a purity to these questions, and I wish to encourage them. At the same time, some of it is so sensitive, and Dorian will inevitably repeat these things at inappropriate moments.

Also unsettling – he has quickly grasped some of the new power relationships in our world. Only this morning, he casually told our day guard to move his car seat from my temporary runaround to Anna’s UN car. He unquestioningly complied. We had to explain to Dorian there were certain things he should not do.

Still, I like to think all of this is positive, and will contribute to the education of a globally aware child. As long as he doesn’t turn into Little Lord Fauntlelroy in the meantime.

Little Lord Fauntleroy at the new 'Montana Village'... a striking drop of St Tropez chic in PAP

19 responses to “Teaching Dorian about soldiers, resources and poverty

  1. Dorian’s a cute boy and so curious. I hope he will understand the things one day. I admire the innocence and purity of the children, though. We should all be like them again and be just nice to each other! 🙂

  2. I hope one day, we can live without poverty and war.

  3. humor, but serious issues discussed here. Kids are curious, they ask funny but important questions, they inspire grownups to think twice about the option of war and peace….

    Great post!

  4. To day I try searching with bing, and I find your site and this useful post. Thank you. I need it.

  5. Merry Christmas.

    Dorian is wonderful and will grow to be quite a man.

    What wonderful work is done by folks like you.

    I briefly visited Haiti once long ago. Pappa Doc Duvallier was president. We were forced to leave the plane so the military could check it for whatever.

    The airport was filled with people joyfully selling works of art and crafts. I have never seen such a rich display of creativity. Such a beautiful island and beautiful people.

    I pray their freedom to joy will someday become more certain.

  6. too cute kids….just loved them

  7. Many years ago I organized a small collection for school supplies to be given to schools in Haiti. I received pictures of the students holding all their new notebooks and pencils and folders…it was magical. I hope those kids have it okay.

  8. That’s just so heartbreaking.

  9. Awesome conversation!
    Much food for thought…
    It really made my day. Thank you.

  10. Pingback: Why don’t they make toy peacekeepers? « Travels with Shiloh

  11. seems dorian already knows what’s going on – “haiti is broken” and the correct answer to his question about soldiers and guns is that they are there to help the rich steal from the poor.

    • Well; perhaps. But there was a real need for some kind of security in the middle of this decade; the poor suffer severely from civil wars. The peacekeepers have helped in that regard.

  12. Gosh, just discovered your blog today, a day after the earthquake. I pray that you and your family are safe… I pray for this…

  13. Mark,
    I’ve been anxiously reading your Facebook missives since the quake (apologies for not sending a personal note, but am so glad that you guys were in Miami)- just now getting around to reading your blog. Your recent entries are heartbreaking to read, but so much more meaningful than watching hours of the reporting on tv- you’ve done a wonderful job throughout this blog of painting a picture of life in Haiti, both the good and the bad- really emphasizes the staggering amount of work it will take to rebuild what they had, much less what they should have… thanks for sharing this with us.

    P.S. Dorian is brilliant.

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