I always told myself to prepare for all questions my children will ask me. Everyday, my children interrogates me of about just anything. Since I master the habit of counting 1-10 to almost all shocking encounters I had and will be having, I also do this when they fire me the shocking Qs.
When my 2nd grade son came home this afternoon, he dropped me a very good question.
“Ma, What do you mean by NPA?”
I closed the book that I was reading and looked at him. He was still carrying his school bag on his shoulders.
“Hi! you’re home! aren’t you going to give me a kiss first?” that’s my reply.
He dropped his bag. Remove his shoes and gave me a hug. I started to unbutton his school uniform so he can change to comfortable clothes. While doing that, I asked him:
“How was school?, do you have assignments?” He didn’t answer my question but asked me again.
“Ma, What do you mean by NPA?”….this time with an impatient tone, okay, he is not dropping the thought. Easy one, was what I’m thinking.
“It means, New People’s Army” I answered and I gave him one in return. “Why do you ask? Are you discussing about NPA at school today?” he didn’t answer but instead he asked me another one.
“Is that a job?… like being a policeman, a doctor, a teacher…you know, like those kind of jobs…like…you, a MedTech” He meant PROFFESION. Oh Boy!.. and I counted 1-10…. hmmm I don’t know if being an NPA is a profession? Is it? In fact, I don’t know how to answer his question. By the time my counting reached ten, I told him this.
“Well,.. they are a group of people who call themselves army but they don’t belong to the government” As a matter of fact, I don’t know if my answer was correct. I was silently praying for him to be satisfied with it and not going to ask for more follow up questions. Damn this NPA!…. but, God didn’t hear me right away or maybe He did but my son was quicker to ask me again.
“So, if they don’t belong to the government.. who did?” Alright, at least another easy one.
“The Military. They are called Armed Forces of the Philippines. The Air Force, the Army, the Navy… the Police too…. those guys in uniform” I answered him, once again I am hoping for no more follow up questions.
“Ma, Does the NPA have guns?”
Should he be asking his teachers this??? That’s why we send our kids to school in the first place right???.. Right?… Right.
“Yes they do have guns… lots of them, big ones.” I answered firmly and this time I am ready to beg him to ask no more.
“Okay” he said quietly. He seem satisfied with the answers I gave him, but I’m wrong. He wants to know more.
“Ma, if they don’t belong to the government are they the enemies?”
Seriously????? I think this is something I don’t even want to know personally. Can he just ask me for another kind of toy, or few pesos to buy POGS card or rubber bands and marbles? Because, when he ask me those the answer is easy and it is always NO, or Maybe, or Not Now.
As a mother, I want my kids to come to me for answers. So, I have to answer him.
“They are not exactly called enemies, they just have issues that they don’t agree with each other.” I paused waiting for the big WHY?, but he just stared at me with a look that is asking Why? I continued by telling him that “Why are you asking this? If you want to know about the NPA, we will ask Mama U when she gets home, or you can watch TV Patrol Mindanao with me…” I am referring to my mom. She is a teacher and I always do this at questions I prefer not to answer. Ha! Ha!
“It’s okay” he replied. “I think I know who the NPAs are now”
(Photos from the web)
I don’t give the NPA much of a thought ever since but for the first time, today, I found myself wanting to know about them. What are they up to? I am not saying I want to get myself involved. I just wanted to give my children the correct answers. Before my son went to bed, I asked him why was he asking about the NPA today. He answered me that he was looking at the posters/paintings for a slogan contest by some of the college students at school when he was walking on the lobby on his way out to the gate He said the posters were about Peace in Mindanao and some drawings have the letters N.P.A.
I guess my son finally understood the pictures he was looking at when I answered his questions. Maybe that is why he seem satisfied when he told me:
“I think I know who the NPAs are now.”
To know more about the NPA: