The wonder of the world,
The beauty and the power,
The shapes of things,
Their colours, lights, and shades —
These I saw.
Look ye also while life lasts.
Anonymous, from The Storm Whale by Benji Davies
This week, the CLC community has been gathering supplies to send to our friends in Puerto Rico who are suffering in Hurricane Maria’s wake. A small group of Purple Roomers interested in talking about what is going on in Puerto Rico gathered to look at the donations and talk about what will happen next.
Hiram: I went to Puerto Rico when there wasn’t a storm. It was beautiful. I went with my grandma and grandpa and mom and we went in the water for a little bit.
Arlo: Grandma and I read a book about Puerto Rico!
Wexler: I think Puerto Rico looks like dark and dark and rainy. That storm was there for a long time. Sometimes when there’s so much water it fills the inside of houses. I heard that inside this storm it was so strong that it blew out the windows.
Hiram: I think if it’s a windy storm it could blow the house or blow something out of the window.
Sammy: I think we have some things to give to people who need help.
Wexler: Diapers, first-aid kits, baby formula. I think we can give them new batteries.
Arlo: We can give them new photos!
Wexler: It’s going to go on a truck, then a boat, then to Puerto Rico! If the boat runs out of fuel before it gets to Puerto Rico, a fuel boat could come help.
Next, we read The Storm Whale by Benji Davies, which reminds us that though nature is powerful, we have our own special power of helping the people and animals around us. In the story, a boy named Noi found a beached baby whale after a great storm had raged. First Noi tried to make the whale feel at home by putting him into his bathtub and telling him sea stories. When Noi’s father arrived home, they used a rowboat to bring the whale back to the middle of the ocean.
When we finished reading the story, we talked about how Noi helped the whale after the storm took him away from his home.
Doudou: He’s hungry and needs water to drink to have energy. He gave him some water to drink.
Leo: They gave him a pile of homes!
Gunnu: They made him feel better!
Arlo: Noi put the whale in the bathtub, but it wasn’t good for the whale, so they put him back in the ocean.
Hiram: He can’t swim in the bathtub. He needs to breathe and swim.
Wexler: If an animal washes ashore inside a net, you can cut him out and then he’ll be safe and you could put him back in the water.
Sammy: What if it wasn’t a water kind of animal?
Wexler: Like if it got shoot by an arrow then it would be very dangerous. And if the arrow was really stuck in, you shouldn’t pull it out. You need to bring him to an animal doctor.
Hiram: If turtles got their heads stuck in garbage we can get them out.
Wexler: We can help them when it’s hot, when there is a fire, when they’re trapped.
Our Purple Roomers have such vast capacities for understanding and empathy, and it can be helpful when processing painful events, to focus on what we can do to help people in need. There is a power in helping others, that children inherently gravitate towards. The emotions that come with understanding the world around us can be big and confusing, and coupling that understanding with acts and discussions of kindness is not only important for helping children feel safe in a changing world, but also to promote a sense of agency in going out and making it better.