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The Gift That Keeps Giving

Yesterday a man with a kindly face came and knocked on our door. It turned out that he was from the Red Cross and collecting money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Arvind came with me to answer the door and as I walked inside to find some cash, I hear Arvind questioning him loudly as to why he was collecting money.

I hear a low, patient response.

I see my boy dash inside, open the draw that safely housed his birthday money and then he dashed back to the kindly man.

“But this is 500 kroner….” (90 dollars), says the man at a loss, holding the note unsurely.

“They have nothing. They need this.” says my matter-of-fact, unsentimental 7 year old.

“Thank you,” says the man quietly, “You’re a very special boy.”

Somewhere between this exchange and the closing of the door, I splinter in pride.

Happy 8th year, My Golden Heart.

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Edited to add: I needed to add that it wasn’t the fact that Arvind gave money or the amount he gave that made this a highlight for me. It was more the fact that he had processed enough from our conversations and discussions to stop caring about the vastly exciting world of Bakugan (if for a minute) and give his thoughts and his empathy to the plight of real people. So here is my real question:

Should we protect our children more from the media or less? I have always encouraged Arvind’s interest in the news and current affairs except when inappropriate pictures and footage are involved. Does exposure give them more empathy to situations like Haiti or will it in the long run, desensitize them? Climate change people – this ain’t gonna be the last of it.

How much is too much when they are 7 and 8?

Can we teach them about the world and tell them about wars, famine and natural catastrophes, without stealing their precious innocence? Without rubbing out their faith in a good humanity? Or is innocence overrated to begin with?

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