Many mornings, when I drive my son to school, I have the radio on and tuned to NPR. The only times this doesn't happen is when he reads to me from the backseat to finish homework or review a book before a test. The rest of the time, it's NPR.
I love NPR. So much so that I volunteer my time and my voice for the twice-yearly pledge drives or answer phones if needed. It is thought-provoking radio, but not always suitable for young ears. Not so much language as material - and my little pitcher has BIG ears.
This morning, there was a story about Saddam Hussein's first testimony in court. I can't quote him, but in essence he said that the Iraqis should stop fighting among themselves and band together to fight the invaders. From the backseat came the question: "Who are the invaders?"
My own opinion of the war probably isn't fit for young ears... and how to explain when the word "invaders" has such a negative connotation? Finally, I told him who Saddam Hussein was, why he was in jail, and that we (meaning our country) were the invaders that he was talking about. I suppose I caved and gave him the "company" line as to why we invaded, but at the ripe old of age of 6, he doesn't really need to know that our President is an idiot. The world is uncertain enough without telling children that the people who run it don't know what they're doing. Sad, but true.
Last week, he wanted to know what "custody" was after hearing a story about a new law being proposed to reduce child support dependent upon how much time the non-custodial parent spent with the children. Again, I started with the basics, such as what a divorce was. Since both his father and I have been divorced once, I could use us as examples. Since his father had another son by his previous wife, I could give him solid examples of custody, child support, and visitation. (My own parents are still married, so I don't have any experience being a child of divorce.)
He thought it was really weird. Then he started asking questions about his half-brother's "other" family (the ex-wife and her husband and kids). Because, as it turned out, we are all quite close, I could tell him all about my "ex-laws" and their kids. Our situation is very good, if a little odd, and by no means unique. I am thankful for that because having to explain nasty divorces with fights over children, money and property would have been more than I was ready to deal with.