Thursday, April 14, 2011
Cranes for Japan
I, like most everyone else, was horrified to hear about the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear crises that took place in Japan last month. We spoke very candidly with the children about the disaster and also discussed ways in which we, as a family, could help. One of the organizations that I discovered was Students Rebuild who has partnered with Do Something.org. They organized a drive for people around the world to make paper cranes for Japan. Once 10,000 cranes are received a $200,000 donation from the Bezos Family Foundation will be made for reconstruction efforts in Japan. Also, Students Rebuild will take all of the cranes sent in and make a art sculpture out of them.
We made paper cranes for Japan and in order to help the children understand the significance of the paper cranes in Japan we read the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. This is the true story of a young girl who became sick from radiation following the drop of the atom bomb in Hiroshima. The book is a beautiful retelling of her story and while I would normally not have read this story quite yet to Harris, I felt like it was appropriate in the context of our discussion. It deals with some heavy topics, including death, but in a straight forward way. The children actually handled the book very well- it was myself who cried the last third of the book! In our reading of the story the focus was on Sadako and her efforts to make 1,000 cranes. However, it's a story that I would hope my children will read again because as they get older they will take more away from the story in a larger context as to the long term affects of war.
As a Mom, I often find it difficult to find the balance of giving my children too much information about scary current events or not enough information. We've always erred on the little information side of things, but as they get older we are trying to have more conversations with them about our world and what is going on. How do you find that balance?
P.S. We followed the instructions in the back of the book to make our paper cranes. It turned out to be a great family activity and the children (especially Harris!) loved doing it.