Thursday, March 26, 2009

Our Family's War Effort

My mother in law is a Fundamentalist Christian with the extremist views most associated with those two words. And we get along famously. We avoid topics like stem cells and Sarah Palin, instead focusing on our shared love of her son, embroidered children's clothes and celebrity gossip.

So I did nothing to stop her from introducing my daughter to the world of American Girl Dolls. Asking my mother in law not to buy things is like asking the sun not to shine. Instead we act as a team. She gets to fulfill her shopping jones and I use the dolls as a starting point for conversations about challenging issues such as gender, race and class.

Everybody's happy!

Last summer's Kit Kittredge movie prompted us to ask my grandparents about their lives during the Great Depression. It was a series of touching conversations that left a lasting impression on all four generations. Of particular interest to Mirette was the concept of a Hooverville which was depicted in the film. At the time my grandparents were small children who had no specific recollections to share. Unfortunately before all is said and done my daughter might have some stories to share on the topic with her grandchildren.

Mirette's attentions have now turned to Molly who is growing up in World War II America. After watching Molly's movie, Mirette was pensive. Because of the heavy themes (not all of the enlisted men come home alive) I had viewed the movie ahead of her. I thought it was appropriate and we had a talk before the show began. Upon it's completion I asked what was on her mind. After confirming that our nation was still at war, I was caught off guard when she asked what our family was doing differently because of the war.

My husband and I are properly outraged by our government's international actions and have voted accordingly, on both a nation and local level. We have attended various protests and vigils, donated goods and money to veterans organizations. But that seemed pretty insufficient when compared to the sacrifices of the family in the film.

We live extravagantly within a global context but simply when compared to lots of our friends and neighbors. I stress to my children how fortunate we are at every turn. Constantly striving not to allow a proper respect for their material things to turn to reverence.

But I'm stumped to come up with a concrete, daily thing that we do (or don't do) as a part of a war effort.

I better pay closer attention to Michelle and get started on a victory garden.

1 comment:

  1. This is something we struggle with on a daily basis. It's also one of the reasons that I'm a little offended by people who tend to be so very "pro-war." They fully believe that the war in the Middle East is the right thing, but yet they have done nothing to change their lives. They still use as much gasoline as they always have. We don't drive as much as we used to, and not just because its high price. I fully believe that purchasing gasoline funds the terrorist organizations that many are so worried about. Additionally, I feel that our troops are in Iraq simply because of our countries blood lust for oil. Today was the first time I've left the city limits in about 3 weeks. That being said, I feel my "contribution" to the war effort is pretty paltry indeed...and now I will step off my soap box.