Thursday, 29 September 2016

Heroes - Celebrating Terry Fox

I don't know whether or not this is a normal phase, but both of my kids (Jack in particular) have a very strong and active curiosity surrounding death.  This started when they were 3-years-old, following the death of our beloved cat Pan.  We have been fortunate enough that most of the death the minions have experienced has been elderly people and pets who lived long, and for the most part healthy lives.  Our honesty with the kids has led to a lot of questions surrounding death.

Jack is a huge music fan and likes to collect statistics on his favourite artists.  In 2016, this means he's seen a lot of musicians he listens to pass away (Bowie, and Prince).  He has so much curiosity surrounding death, cremation, and legacy in music and family.  We have tried to teach both children how people can live on through their art, family, and contributions to the world.

Death for the elderly and sick has been easier to explain to the kids, although it's been hard to convince Jack that growing to become an old man is a good thing, not a bad thing.  Explaining things like cancer, and why some people are unlucky enough to get sick at a young age is something we struggle with.

This week at school Molly and Jack will be participating in Terry Fox events to raise money for cancer research.  They have learned all about "working together to outrun cancer".  They know about his attempt to run across the country to spread awareness and earn money for an important cause, and that he is considered a Canadian Hero.  Next came the questions about what cancer is and why someone so young could die.  These are all questions I don't really have answers to that will help calm the minds of inquisitive 5-year-olds.

I chose to focus on the good that Terry did in his life, the lives he's saved through his foundation, and the ways that Molly and Jack could also help.  We read testimonies and quotes together on how Terry is a hero, and what that means.  This week parents at the minions school were asked to provide students with a "Toonie for Terry" to help raise money for cancer.

Both R2D2 and Wonder Woman are ready to give back!

A couple of months ago when we began giving Molly and Jack allowance we made an active decision that part of the allowance practice had to do with teaching them about finance, savings, and philanthropy.  Last night, before bed, I told them both how I had put a Toonie (for Terry) into their backpacks.  Next I asked them if they'd like to each provide a Toonie for donation out of their piggy banks, and that if they decided to do this that their dad and I would match their donation again with six dollars each being donated.  Molly started jumping up and down and happily agreed.  Jack calmly instructed me to take a toonie out of his piggy bank.

This morning Jack asked me why his entire piggy bank wasn't in his backpack...Apparently he very graciously wanted to "make it rain" toonies for Terry.  It feels like a pretty good day in the world of parenting lessons at our house.

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