When joy jumps out when we least expect it.

As my 8 year old and I sat on the couch this morning, me reading the Globe and him peering over my shoulder, it was an opportunity for some meaningful discussions.

His attention was drawn by an article on bullying, one on Stephen Harper defending the use of a helicopter, the Mayor favouring one newspaper over the other, and in particular an article on climate change and Africa’s request for countries like Canada to keep their heads out of the sand.  All of which neatly titillating the keen sense of fairness that lives inside most 8 year olds.

As he read bits and pieces of each article, naturally he had many questions – most of which I wasn’t very good at answering.

I’m not a very strict parent in the sense of being fastidious over how much screen time a child can have, or how much candy a child can consume.  My motto is: everything in moderation, until I see a problem and then we can address it.

The article on climate change had a photo of people on the beach with their heads in the sand and flags or corporation logos on their backs.  There were 3 people holding symbols of renewable resources behind them.

As we discussed the article, my 8 year old said “ohhhh…I get it.  They are like ostriches that put their heads in the sand so they don’t see what’s going on around them”.

Wow! I think.

We then discussed the ostrich and its characteristics for a bit and I was quite impressed.   Awed with his knowledge I was eager to know in which class he studied about the ostrich.  “Mummy, we didn’t learn about that in class, I saw that on Bugs Bunny and Tweety”.

Ahhh…good for me for letting him watch cartoons!

He then asked about the logos and the flags on their backs.  I started to explain the general idea, my mind searching for a simple explanation of a complex problem, all the while mindlessly naming them as I went – “Canada, Britain, Shell, can’t remember which one that is right now, it’s blurry but looks Latin American…”

Cackles from my right made me stop and ask what the heck was so funny.  “Mummy, that’s Mexico’s flag, don’t you know that?  I know that from FIFA”.

Ahh…again, good for me for letting him play FIFA!  I’m batting 1000 so far.

FIFA is a current favourite video game that he and his 16 year old brother play together regularly.  The flag of any country that plays soccer is now firmly etched into the memory of my male children – even my 6 year old who watches in fascination as they battle it out.

So, as I start the day today I’m reminded that our children learn everywhere they go and with everything they do.

Nothing could have started my day off better than a morning like this – no amount of money, not a dream vacation, no amount of solitude, nor anything materialistic could bring me greater joy than watching a little mind expand.

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