Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Teaching kids about refugees

Those who have been following the Federal election in Australia at the moment will know that (once again) much of the debate has been focussed on our refugee policy. 
 
One of things I've been thinking about as a mother is how to help my kids think through the issue. As I see it, there's two levels at which I want my kids to develop a wise, generous, biblically-informed understanding:
 
1. The big, public, political level 
 
Even though they are too young to vote, I still think it's worth talking through the national and international issues with them, looking at the facts and talking through what a fair and compassionate policy would be for Australia to adopt.
 
2. The local and personal level
 
Important as the global and national/political issues are, I don't want our kids to grow up as the sort of sanctimonious hypocrites who have all the correct political views in theory but no interest in how those views might need to be put into practice in their own daily lives. We're fortunate enough to live in a part of Sydney where our local church and our local school both have a huge range of cultural backgrounds represented, including (in both cases) a number of families and individuals who are here in Australia on refugee visas or as applicants for asylum. This is a great opportunity for us - within our church family and in the playground at school - to start learning some of the things that 'welcoming the stranger' might mean, if it is to be something more than just a pious political slogan.
 
I've recently discovered one resource that offers some perspective on both levels of the issue, in quite a beautiful and illuminating way. It's a TV series for kids called 'Seeking Refuge'. Made in the UK, it portrays real life stories of kids who have sought asylum. Each five minute story is told against a backdrop of beautiful animations. It is currently being shown in Australia on the ABC and you can view the episodes on catch up TV at the moment. I've watched the first two episodes with my kids and recommend them.

image from 'Seeking Refuge'

1 comment:

Trevor Cairney said...

Wow Nic, this is a fantastic resource. I love the programs that are presented so well. They don't seek to push a political position, just tell real stories. Thanks, I'll tweet your post.