The Life Of Ry
Yes, that is a take on the Oscar winning movie, Life of Pi, which incidentally I did not see, but my child has with a friend. (Oh the things you miss out on when you become a parent.)
It was one of those moments where you truly have to wonder what is going on in the mind of a child.
I was tucking Rylan in and was asking him about the movie. As most children (and men) do he responded with “it was good.” Prodding him, I asked him what the movie was about since I didn’t know anything about it. The explanation went something like this…
Ry: Well, it was about a boy and a tiger and the boys family dies when their boat sinks.
Ry: But don’t worry, I wasn’t sad because I knew it wasn’t real people who died, they just pretended.
Me: Well, that’s true, because it’s a movie and they are called actors.
Ry: Yeah, ok. Anyway, the boy had to make friends with the tiger. They had territory. And he peed to mark his territory. (laughing)
Me: Who peed? The boy or the tiger?
Ry: The human. Well.. actually I think he was Chinese.
Me: *hesitating… Ry, you do realize that Chinese people are humans?
Ry: *shaking his head emphatically.. No they are Chinese!
Now.. at this point, there are a few things going through my mind. The first is apparently my child does not know the difference between a Chinese person and an Indian person. (the lead in Pi, for all those other parents out there who haven’t seen the movie, is a young Indian boy) The second is that clearly he’s not in a full understanding about what a human is.
I’m still currently debating about the best way to show this to him. I tried explaining that humans are in fact any one who lives on planet earth (I hope that if there is alien human life they won’t come to our planet long before I’m dead and gone and have to re-define what human is.) I also tried to explain what humans aren’t: a rock, a tree, a fish, so on and so forth. I suppose all of this was too in-depth for a tired seven year old, who asked, as I was fumbling my way through the definition, if he could just go to bed. Children are remarkable for knowing when it’s important to go to bed (you know, when they have homework or chores to do suddenly they are willing to go to sleep.)
I began to wonder if I wasn’t showing my child enough diversity in his day to day life. It wasn’t just this incident, but others like Rylan asking if someone from another country speaks “regular.” Of course, what he means by this is English, which is regular to him. As many times as I say, “No, because they are from (Italy, Spain, Germany, etc.) so they speak (Italian, Spanish, German, etc.) his reply has been “Ok, so, no, they don’t speak regular.” (How many times do I want to smack my head on the nearest wall?!) I guess the only true way to expose him to the vastness of humanity and the differences in cultures is to have us travel. Now.. if only I knew where I put my credit card and didn’t have another full time job besides motherhood. You think the travel channel will count as educational?