We asked CanadianLiving.com readers to tell us about how their children contributed to helping survivors of the December 26, 2004 tsunami. Here are some of the ways Canadian kids responded to what's being called one of the deadliest disasters in recorded history.
I was reading your web article on planting the seed of social responsibility in our children" and immediately my son came to mind.
Adam's school (C.E. Broughton in Whitby, Ont.) planned a school-wide fundraiser in order to educate the children on how to help others in need. Their reward was to be a school-wide pajama day. Adam is 4 years old and in JK and yet his teacher pulled me aside as they were leaving one day to explain that he had many questions about the earthquake and the floods. For the remainder of the week Adam would ask questions about how he could help, why this happened, what about the children and how would the money get to the people? My husband and I were at first fearful of his questions thinking that this was a lot for a four year old to handle. However, we could see that he was genuinely concerned for those who were hurting. He would pray for them and for the "army" that was flying over to help.
We sent in some money to his school and he came home that day saying he needed more because he was still worried. He asked to call his grandparents and once speaking to his grandfather, he quite emphatically explained the need to send in money to help the children. He said that they could give him the money and he would take it to his school. He, in the only way a 4-year-old could, offered suggestions as to how they could give money. For example Adam said, "you know when you buy something and the lady gives you back some money? That would be good for the children. So Grandpa, when you go shopping please save all the money you get back for me ok?" His grandparents, so struck by Adam's desire to help, did end up donating and Adam was proud to be able to take in a 2nd envelope.
It was such a huge reminder to me, his mom, that this world is so much bigger than us. Things are going to happen and we can't shelter them (our children) from everything. Adam's heartfelt desire to help was a challenge to even myself to think outside my "world" and to be prepared to help others.
Thank you for reminding us to acknowledge the altruistic nature of our children.
I know there are such wonderful stories of interest and insight when it comes to the social consciousness of the young. I have certainly discussed the disaster with my 3-year-old son, Noah, and he has seen some of the devastation on the television. However what he shared with me last night while we were lying in bed and reviewing the days events surprised me and gave me a warm sense of pride in my little child.
He looked at me and said, "Mommy I know that some kids don't have homes any more because the tsunami wave broke them. They can come and live with me and share my bed if they want, we could fit six or seven more kids in my bed." We then discussed the logistics of that, including the location of where this disaster occurred. He then looked at me and said " Mommy because it is so far away you will have to go get them and bring them back." I smiled at the wonderful innocence and sense of simplicity that he has, while silently wishing if only I could.
Lynn Greene, Red Deer, Albt.