Children often have an incredibly pure perspective of the world. In this short letter from Jarkko Laine's Curious & Creative, I was reminded just how easily we can become numb to reality.
As I sat down to have have breakfast with my sons, Oiva, the older of the two, asked me for a song in place of saying grace. I agreed, and without thinking about it that much, started to improvise: "We are thankful that we have food. Not everyone has food, but we do."
As I was singing, I noticed Oiva's face change: he was trying to hide his tears. I stopped singing and quickly asked him what was wrong. With tears in his eyes, forcing a smile on his face (but failing to do so), he said: "Dad, that song is a little strange."
Oiva is four. He still cares.
For him, hearing that someone doesn't have food is not something to be thankful for.
At that moment I was very happy for the small monthly donation we make to charity as I could use it to explain to my son that there are ways we can help those people who don't have the goods we do.
But once again, his natural compassion had revealed to me something ugly about myself: I have become used to the tragedies in this world.