Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Giving Heart

I had a moment with Judah during the week.
We were watching the news as a family while eating dinner – which almost never happens in our house because of all the violence and death and bad news that you tend to be bombarded with. But, I’d been a bit out of touch with what was going on in our world, and thought it might be a good idea to play catch up.

The kids were talking about bacon and trying to out-sing eachother in nursery rhymes; and a story came on about babies and young children dying in Yemen from starvation. Dave and I watched these small, skeletal babies in hospital, unable to keep any food down, and their mothers, their hearts breaking, desperate to prevent their children from slowly starving to death. No food, no milk, no jobs, and no money.

During the piece, Judah stropped singing, and watched intently; there was a moment where I almost got up and turned it off, but I didn’t. And when it finished, his questions began.

Why are those babies so sick?
Why can’t his mummy give him food so that he can be strong?
Does his daddy have a job?
Why doesn’t his Grannie give him food?
Is the doctor fixing him?
Why are the people fighting where he is?

Dave and I very slowly and carefully answered his queries, and explained the best way that we could - which is a tricky thing when your listener is only nearly four years old. I didn’t want him to be frightened, or to be overwhelmed – and I would have gladly held off on such a discussion for another three years until his understanding of the world and his place in it grew.

But, there we were, sitting at the table and talking to our boy about big things.
And while my heart was saddened for the loss of the beautiful way that he viewed the world, Judah’s compassionate heart sought to find a way to help:

Can I take the little baby my dinner so he can grow big and strong?
No sweetheart, that babe lives a very long way away. He’s in the hospital, and the doctors are helping him the best way that they can, I said.
Then I will get on three planes and walk to where he is and find all the food and give it to him so that he can be strong, he said with determination.

I was so proud of him.

Since then, we’ve had a (Judah initiated and very gently explained) daily conversation about that little baby and children in need; and while he is broadening in his understanding, he’s also interested in finding solutions and ways in which we can help. So this morning, I suggested that we take an empty jar from the cupboard, and start saving some of our pocket money to send to babies and kids that need help.

That is a very good idea Mum, he said. You can take all the money from my piggy bank and send it to the kids, so that they can be big and strong.

So very proud.

As I write this post, I’m smiling at the generosity that children have when given the opportunity to help others in need; and while it’s a discussion that I thought we’d be having in a few years, it really has reinforced for me the idea that you’re never to young to give, or to be giving. And who knows where this spark of generosity may lead? If it enables Judah to be a more compassionate child, or to grow into a man who feels the plight of others and seeks to make a difference, then embracing it now may just be the best thing we’ve ever done.


Image from joojoo on Etsy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Find me...

And just like that, we’ve moved seamlessly from the world of pirates and the high seas, to detectives, mysteries, magnifying glasses and solving crimes.

I’m actually not quite sure what the trigger was; perhaps there was none. All I know is that my almost-four-year-old is now very slowly investigating his world, magnifying glass in hand, looking for clues that monsters have been visiting, and following (real and imagined) footprints on the floor.

My conversations with Judah nowadays tend to follow this tract:

Me: Judah, what do you want for lunch?
J: I need you to come with me and look for the foofprimts I saw outside with my magmify glass.
Me: Peanut butter or honey on your sandwich?
J: Mummy, when did you see the monster yesterday?
Me: Only when he was dancing in the front garden. Now, what do you want for lunch?
J: Um, I want some money to catch the plane to the detective shop in Adelaide.

Whenever it isn’t mealtime or naptime or you-need-to-do-this-now time, we all join in the detective work. This morning, I explained to him that good detectives ask a lot of questions, and write the answers down in a notebook that they keep in their pockets. Said notebook was found, and a pencil given, and the questions began; random things like, what did you have for breakfast? Or, why do you like yellow?
I guess you never know what questions will solve the mystery, right?

What games are your little ones playing at the moment? Or, do you remember playing detective games when you were a kid?