I’m Struggling To Explain To My Kids How and Why Their Grandfather Was Murdered

May 16, 2019

Parents don't always have the words to share their stories. Whether it's the daily news cycle, death or divorce, there are some topics that are really challenging. They're not impossible to talk about, but they are a struggle. 

For the dad in the short video above, he is reflecting on his experiences during the Rwandan genocide. He was welcomed to Canada and considers Canada home, but he doesn't want his kids to forget their heritage and he doesn't want them to be in the dark about what happened to people in Rwanda, like their uncle or their grandfather. 

So, he makes sure to incorporate their culture into daily life, and he's slowly, sometimes through tears, finding the words to share the harder parts of his past with his kids. 

A transcript can be found below:

"Nobody’s born to hate.

Nobody’s born hating and it’s something we learn.

I grew up the same way my kids should grow — to be humble. And to respect the other person.

To me, it’s essential.

After what I went through during the genocide that happened in Rwanda, I came to Canada and they took me as their own. I really feel that this has been my country.

We talked about this the other day with our kids: how you welcome someone, it makes a big difference.

Yes, if I come to Canada coming from another country, I would have double feelings that’s for sure.

But [even if] a person feels like he’s belonging to [a different] country, that second home will always be home.

I don’t want my kids to forget they’re Rwandan. First being Canadian, second being Rwandan. I don’t want them to forget where they come from or their culture.

We sometimes, we are home, and then we make a competition between ourselves, to see who’s going to be able to dance around a Rwandan song very nicely. It’s like a poetic thing.

Tend to write about my history — um, what I went through during the genocide that happened in Rwanda. The killing.

I’m having trouble, even now, telling my kids those kinds of stories, teaching them what happened. They know about the genocide, but they don't know the history exactly behind the genocide. 

So we do show pictures of some of the family we lost. This is your uncle, this is your grandpa.

What I’m trying to tell them is it was a bad people who came to our home and killed your grandpa. I was looking to my dad — sorry — this is. I’m OK. He was a pure, good-hearted person. That’s how, that’s how my dad was. I’m trying to go slow, explaining to them what’s going on ,what happened. So they can, like, in the future understand exactly the history behind it.

So what my dad did and what my mom did. I wish I could be able to do that myself. If I can be half of that, I’m happy.

I’ll accomplish a lot. I think that's where I got, I get the courage to continue to survive. To raise my kids."

The Art of Parenting offers an intimate conversation with some of the most memorable families featured in the CBC Kids broadcast series The Art Show. The parents speak candidly and emotionally about how their own history, upbringing, belief system and circumstance have influenced their parenting style and resulted in the raising of some truly phenomenal kids.

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