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|Stairway to Heaven - Page 11|
But none of the children knew what to do when faced with the simplest of choices: when offered a plain peanut butter sandwich as opposed to one with jelly, they became confused, even angry. Having never been allowed the basic choices that most children get to make as they begin to discover what they like and who they are, they had no sense of self. The idea of self-determination was, like all new things for them, unfamiliar and, therefore, anxiety provoking. So the children turned to the scribes for guidance and let them make these decisions.
We were not sure how to deal with this issue. We wanted them to have a sense of the familiar and to feel "at home," and we thought that allowing them these rituals might help them feel safe. On the other hand we knew that they would need to learn what would soon be expected of them in the outside world.
We had only trial and error to guide us. My first attempt to break the segregation between the boys and the girls was a disaster. One day I sat down at the girls' table for lunch. Immediately, all of the children seemed to tense up. A three- or four-year-old girl challenged me, saying, "You can't sit here." I asked why. She said, "Because you're a boy."
"How do you know?" I asked, trying to use humor to defuse the situation, but she stuck with her challenge and looked to the female scribe, who confirmed to her that I was male. When I continued to sit there almost all of the children became angry and the air became so charged and hostile that I was afraid they would riot. Some of them stood up, taking an aggressive stance. I backed off. After that, we allowed them to maintain their separate tables and the bizarre dietary restrictions that Koresh had imposed, such as not eating fruit and vegetables at the same meal.