The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #85161   Message #1579578
Posted By: Charmion
09-Oct-05 - 03:33 PM
Thread Name: BS: How low can you go?
Subject: RE: BS: How low can you go?
dianavan wrote: How do you know that young children want to know about the military? Are you sure about that or are you making assumptions?

It's hard to misinterpret a direct question: "What's that medal for? Were you in the army?" (Veterans wearing medals -- even comparatively young ones like me -- ride the bus free on Remembrance Day.) It's hard to over-estimate the interest of a child on the bus who points to a soldier in uniform (lots of them ride the bus in Ottawa) and says, "Look, mum, a soldier!" and promptly goes to sit down as close to the man in the funny green outfit as he can get, never looking at anyone else. And what of the sharp interest of small boys at the library or a bookstore when they find the books with pictures of military vehicles, or detailed illustrations of knights in armour, or practically anything related to armies and war -- I have seen it so often in more than 40 years of patronizing libraries and bookstores that it looks normal to me.

Little kids don't necessarily want to know about the modern, workaday Canadian Forces (unless they have a relative serving), but they sure are curious about weapons, armoured fighting vehicles, aircraft and warships. A tank or field gun parked in front of a public building always attracts small children to climb on it (kids especially love swinging from the flash-suppressor at the end of the muzzle) and play games around it. If your school library has a copy of anything so old-fashioned as "Knights of the Air" (stories of First World War fighter aces), I'll betcha it's popular with boys aged 8 to 12; I know the copy in the Manotick Public Library circa 1960 was read to shreds.

Children who have parents and siblings in the armed forces, especially kids who live on or near a base, are intimately familiar with military things and activities at a very early age. In Germany, I knew a 7-year-old (child of an Air Force armourer) who could tell me what kind of fighter plane was flying over the hospital during dependants' sick parade (families' walk-in clinic) by the particular quality of the noise it made. If you walked past the Baden Junior School at recess, you would always see at least some little kids racing around the playground with their arms outstretched and shouting "vroom, vroom", pretending to be CF-104 Starfighters and F4 Phantoms -- things they saw every day, things their parents worked with. Would your school forbid that kind of play?