You want to hear something that sucks?
There’s an organization that helps kids hold bake sales to support other kids who are fighting cancer.
I bet you’re thinking: WHAT? How does that suck? It’s amazing!
Here’s how it sucks: It’s simply just not the responsibility of kids to raise money for cancer.
What kids should be responsible for is this:
Making bad sandcastles. Eating pudding with their fingers. Learning, growing, laughing. Taking naps, sitting on laps, knocking down block towers, playing with dogs, painting everything but the paper, pretending to be superheroes.
I don’t want kids to be real-life superheroes, raising money for cancer. I want them to be kids, raising the bridge on a LEGO castle set.
I myself have had cancer. Twice.
And as a mom, all I wanted to do was protect my own kids from that reality as much as I could. I certainly didn’t expect them to do any more than love me through hair loss and boob loss and all my bouts of chemomisery. The main thing I wanted above all was to have my kids believe that their mommy was not going to die.
Of course I want children to learn that part of life is helping others—and have been proud to see the growth in my own daughters as they’ve participated in mission trips to build homes for single moms and volunteered in animal shelters. It makes my heart sing when I hear that kiddos are sharing in the work and rewards of giving their precious energy to causes bigger than they are.
But that’s all part of life. And cancer is simply too close to death.
What we all hope childhood should be
I want—and I think we all want—childhood to be as lovely, sweet and innocent as possible. Especially the first ten years. On September 11, 2001, when the twin towers fell, my daughters were 4 and 6. I didn’t want them to think about what had happened—how could there be such horror in the world? But I could protect them from that story. Especially because in those days I didn’t even let them watch television, with the exception of Magic School Bus and The Crocodile Hunter. (Oh, how I miss you, Steve Irwin!) Childhood is already so fleeting—the days may be endless, but the years fly by—and so I long for us to keep children from the crushing truth that some of them will die as children, and some of them will die from cancer.
So. Clearly, my issue really isn’t with the incredible organizations that help kids raise money and raise awareness. It’s simply that in a world filled with heartbreak, it’s the adults on whom the burden of working to lengthen the lives—and the precious wide-eyed wonder—of our children must rest. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, so now is a great time to do just that: donate to research that can save kids’ lives. You can give here, or here, or here.
Imagine what an amazing place the world will be when all our kids are baking cookies, not for fundraising—but simply to eat.
Julie Clark, CEO and Founder of weeSchool, wants to live in a world where cookies are for breakfast, puppies never grow old, and the most frequent sound heard is that of children laughing. Mom of two grown-up girls, she mostly misses the smell of tiny babies and still loves making positive, creative products for wee ones.