Last night I took a gamble by telling my children about the typhoon that hit the Philippines last week. It wasn’t that I didn’t want them to know about it, it was more that I didn’t want to fuel their overactive minds. They are still quite young. In the past, some well known kids’ movies have incited weeks of nightmares and interrupted sleep. But since we often talk about being grateful for what we have, when others don’t have much, I took a punt.
As I described the wind blowing and the waters rising, I saw their eyes widen with intrigue. When I came to the end of my story, which was only lightly peppered with detail, I was met with great enthusiasm. “Tell it again, tell it again.” I had their attention. Once the story had been repeated several times it was time to take it to another level. “Draw a picture of it.”
Requests for a story drawing, mean they are completely captivated. Story drawings are generally reserved for the most macabre or frightening stories they hear. Earlier story drawings include a crocodile pulling a baby elephant into the water by its trunk. This came after seeing a photo on the internet, when we were searching for images of these fascinating reptilian creatures.
Next in line was a shark eating a whale carcass, a by-product of living near the ocean. A few months ago, a whale carcass had spent several days along the coastline being feasted on by hungry sharks before washing up on a beach near to where we live.
Wary of re-creating the full horror of the typhoon, I kept the images fairly tame. Yet, as the reality dawned on them they started imagining what it would be like. “When is the wind going to start again?” “Is it going to get windy here?” “If all that water came into our house, it would wash away our art and craft.” I explained that help was now getting to these people who had lost everything and we had sent some money to make sure that the little kids affected could get some food and water. Added detail was then requested for the picture, it needed to include people losing their drinks.
As they processed the story and the images, my son quietly went off to his bedroom. He returned with the little sheep money box he had painted at a shopping centre activity. The hole at the bottom was not big enough for the large coins to be retrieved through – not such a bad thing. But then you needed to carefully align them through the slot at the top to get them out. He declared that he wanted to give the kids who had lost everything all the money in his money box. His sister quickly followed his lead and ran off to get her money box.
With his contribution of $5.90 and her’s of $3.65 we will make the transaction this afternoon at a bank where donations for Save the Children Fund are being collected. It remains to be seen whether they will be satisfied with handing their money over to a bank teller instead of directly to the children in need. My son is also keen to give the drawing to the people affected by the typhoon so they know what happened to them.
As we counted the money and put it into envelopes, my son boldly announced “It’s very nice of me to do this, and I wont be crying when I give them the money” as he looked at me with tears rolling down my face.