Last night my daughter wanted to stay up late and watch a movie together. It is summer and I wanted the opportunity so I agreed. My son learned of our plans and I told him that he could join us as well. We browsed the movies and came across the diary of Anne Frank.
Rachel studied the girl on the cover and and asked what the story was about. First, I told her that it was no story. I told her it is very true, every bit of it. Then I went on to explain about WW II and the Nazi's. She stopped me and asked who the Nazi's were. For some reason this stirred my heart. I felt that she needed to know this important part of history. I don't even know if they teach it in school anymore.
It was settled. We were going to watch "The Diary of Anne Frank". I knew the story and knew it would be hard for my daughter to watch (she is 10). I however, believe that sometimes children need to be exposed to unhappy endings. I see so many of my daughters friends disconnected from compassion, and sympathy. It is our culture for young children to watch crazy movies and become callused to things around them. I know this is not always true, but it does seem to be a large number. I think all the external "junk" our kids are exposed to gives them a real disadvantage in the emotional department. It feeds a selfish, entitled attitude. The value of a human life seems to be less in the eyes of so many. It saddens me deeply.
We all three settled down to watch the movie. It was a long movie and there were many questions along the way.
It had been a long time since I had seen the movie or read the book. The more we watched and the more I remembered Anne Frank reminded me of my daughter. This gave me a new perspective on the movie. Before, I had watched it as a girl, relating to the young people in the movie. This time, I watched it as a parent, and related to the adults. New emotions were churning inside of me.
The scene in the movie came where their hiding is finally discovered. My son crept over to my lap (He is 6yrs.) and had little tears in his eyes.
He said, "Mama, those bad men are so mean. I wish I would have been there to fight them."
My little protector. I tried to smile at him, thinking of what I would have done had I been in that situation and told him, "My big strong boy, a lot of people died trying to fight the bad men."
Then Rachel looked at me with tears down her cheeks and still welling in her eyes and asked, "Mama, does she live? Does her family live?"
I took a deep breath. I hadn't expected it to stir their emotions so much, or mine. All I could do was shake my head and whisper, "Just her father, love."
Then came the end scene and Rachel was hanging on to every word spoken by Anne's father about the fate of his family and friends.
The movie ended with both children in my lap, with all of us crying quiet, sullen tears. My son was fairly easily comforted and after lots of hugs and kisses he felt much better. My daughter is a deep thinker. She would not be so easily comforted. She had so many questions. She wanted to know why I hadn't told her about this before. She was somewhat familiar with WWII but only what it was like in america during the war.
My daughter and I sat and discussed many things last night. We talked about relatives who had fought in WWII. We talked about how it would have been in their shoes. Then, we talked about how blessed we are.
After much discussion, it was very late and time for bed. Rachel wanted to sleep in bed with me. I allowed it and soon after we laid down she was out cold. I laid there looking at her face and thinking of what it would be like to have our family separated and sent away the way the Frank family was. The lump in my throat ached as I thought of the feeling of helplessness. I envisioned the people who survived searching for months or years to discover the fate of the ones they loved. What heartache. Then a thought came to me. Death is not the end.
My imagination swept me away to a reunion in heaven. People who searched for and never found the ones they loved. In all these scenarios it was always my family. I imagined it for a little while, then I could take it no more.
I laid there and prayed. I thanked God for many, many things. The hope of heaven really is a grand hope. What would we have to comfort us in our times of sorrow?
I will forever thank God for my family. Above all, I will thank Him for the hope He offers. The Bible is so full of promises that I know will be kept. When things look beyond hope, they are not. It may be difficult to see, but it is there.
This morning I decided to look up Anne Frank. Unknown to me, the 25th, was the 60th anniversary of her diary being printed. Then I saw that she and my daughter shared the same birthday in June. I encourage you to look it up as well.
History is an interesting thing. We can learn so much from it, if only we are willing to. The Bible tells us that the old testament (the part before Jesus, the old law) is there for us to study and learn from. Through out the years that are recorded you can see history repeating itself over and over. I suppose it will continue to do so. I believe that if we can learn from the mistakes of others, we should, and not make the same mistakes ourselves.
Anne Frank had no idea the impact she would have on the world. Who knows what sort of impact we may have one day.