My son didn’t want to go to the park today…

Taken from here…

My eldest son (nearly six) didn’t want to come to the park today. It was warm and sunny, but he didn’t want to get dressed. “What’s wrong? Can you try to tell me, then we might be able to help?” “You and mummy can’t help” A horrible dark light bulb goes on in my head.

I speak quietly in his ear “Are you worried about climate change?” He looks at me, eyes bright with tears, and nods. It all tumbles out, he’s so sad about the animals being shot, losing their homes to deforestation, who are victims of changing weather.

My own eyes, already stinging, blur as well. All the grief, the horror, the desperation, are ready and waiting. I restrain the urge to sob, but my cheeks are wet. I repeat “I know, I’m so sorry”. It feels wholly inadequate, but then, what isn’t?

He knows it’s too big for his parents to fix, or for him to make it better. We tell him lots of people, including us, feel the same way. That we are doing what we can, to support the work to reduce the harm. He wants to believe us, and eventually we dry his tears.

I wonder if he will remember today, years into the future. Will he ever understand what it is to hold a child’s psyche in your hands, malleable like clay, fragile like china, and to do your best to mold it to be strong, and at the same time, beautiful.

At the park, butterflies chase each other, and birds are singing. I think to myself, will he have the chance to be a parent, to nurture a love of the natural world, whatever may be left of it? Or will it be something too dangerous to contemplate by the time he is of age?

Postscript

I know my son is one of the lucky ones – so many children are being told far worse things, every day – “No, there’s no food today” or “I don’t know where your Mama is”.  But this is what climate breakdown, and all the other harms humans are committing, are doing to so many childhoods. If that isn’t worth fighting to lessen, I cannot tell you what is.

Join us, or join something else – but do not sit on your hands. The world needs you to act, whether you are a parent or not.

 

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