Indianapolis, IN - The Children's Museum of Indianapolis recently opened an exhibit called "The Power of Children" which features three famous children; Ryan White, Anne Frank and... some black kid from the 60's.
45 year old Fred Clark, who took his two young children to "The Power of Children" exhibit, was soon sorry that he had. The exhibit, which features large photos of White, Frank and... the other kid, soon led the youngsters to ask unwelcome questions.
"It was like The Spanish Inquisition!" fumed Clark, "They wanted to know who in the heck these kids were!"
And although Mr. Clark had some knowledge of history, he was hesitant to fill his children in on history's darker chapters.
"They asked me who Ryan White was," he fumed, "What am I supposed to do? Tell them the truth? That he had AIDS? - an incurable plague that's sweeping the globe? They're 8 and 9 years old, for goodness sake. They've never ever heard of AIDS!"
So, on the precipice of this slippery slope, Clark decided to punt; "I told them Ryan White was famous for being very brave, even though he had a terrible disease, thank goodness they didn't ask me which disease he had. I sure dodged that bullet!"
One down, two to go.
"Then they asked me who this 'Anne Frank' was. What am I supposed to do? Tell them about The Holocaust? No way was I going to open that can of worms!"
But once again, Clark found a way.
"I told them Anne Frank was a young girl who hid out in an attic while enemy soldiers were invading her country. She and her family hid for a long time in that attic before they were found by the enemy. And much later, someone found the diary she had written while she was hiding out, and her diary is now famous."
Then the Clark children asked a painful question.
"They wanted to know if Anne Frank was killed, I had to tell them 'yes.' It was heartbreaking."
One to go.
"Well, they never really asked me about the little black kid. Good thing too, because, well, I'm not sure who the heck she was myself."
Fred Clark doesn't have much good to say about "The Power of Children" exhibit.
"It's crazy!" he rants, "What were those people thinking?
When we asked the Children's Museum curator, Nancy Updike, about Mr. Clark's concerns regarding "The Power of Children" exhibit, she insisted that such dialog is good for children,
She said "A working knowledge of history, both good and bad, is essential for healthy child development."
We asked her what's next for the Children's Museum.
"We're working on "The Charred Remains of The Children of Hiroshima Exhibit" she said proudly, "That should stimulate a lot of discussion around dinner table."
Discussion perhaps, but probably not much eating.