Debating the fate of the world with a six-year-old

Kaye Wright, Victoria Regional Meeting

I had just arrived at my first client’s house. Her name is Susan* and she is a beautiful, elderly lady with dementia and various physical problems but with a gorgeous spirit. Susan also has a spirited six-year-old great-grandson named George.

The three of us sat down on the couch together in the family’s lounge room. This is always a bit tricky as my primary duty is to socially connect with Susan, not babysit other members of the family. Do I gently discourage George or do I see how things go and let Spirit decide…?

We begin by singing songs together. We sing Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head as this is one of Susan’s favourite songs. Susan sings along with joy. The little boy stays mute and stares…   I begin a song I think he might know: Row, row, row your boat. He starts to sing and soon enough we are all singing it. Susan’s eyes light up with joy. She is delighted to share an activity with her beloved little boy. I know that it was the right decision to include him.

I next bring out a book about baby animals (I know that Susan loves animals). All three of us look at the book together with Susan turning the pages. I ask Susan and George the names of the animals we are looking at and read out some of the text.

We turn to a page featuring a mother and baby koala. Abruptly, George says that in twenty years all the koalas will be dead! We all pause, shocked. Then I turn to George and say that although this may be true it doesn’t have to be. If we stop cutting down our forests and assist the koalas then we can both share our environment.  George stated again (adamantly) that koalas will die out.

I realised that George was almost certainly repeating something he had heard said often, perhaps someone in his own family who he trusts implicitly. I had to be careful here. I didn’t want to be disrespectful to his point of view or to him.

But to have a six-year-old express such fatalism caused my heart to ache!

I said let’s agree to disagree and on we went with the book…

We came to a picture of a baby fairy or little penguin and again George announced (with such confidence!) that we will only be able to save one species of penguin out of seven species currently in the world.  Why is that, I asked. He wasn’t sure but was absolutely certain this was the case. I said that we can save all seven species of penguin but we have to live our lives differently by making different choices.  We are the ones who need to change.

Again, we agreed to disagree.

Later, the three of us played balloon tennis, generating lots of fun and laughter. George decided then to blow up his own balloon and try to hit our balloon, making a sort of missile out of his balloon. It flashed through my mind that this is our world’s greatest threat…  Man’s needing to hit, control things, shoot something down…

However, George was actually a lovely little boy and I liked him. I hope that I may have planted a new seed in him. It is a seed that will need to be nourished by others.

Just as I was leaving George asked for help with his shoes. He wasn’t sure which shoe went on which foot. I assisted him but left him to do up the Velcro fasteners. I touched him lightly on the shoulder and then left after saying a warm farewell to Susan.

Just as I was walking up the street to my car, I heard a loud ‘Kaaaaaye!!!’. I turned around and there was George waving madly.

I waved back with a huge smile.

In my spirit, I blessed this family and wished them well, especially George.


*Names have been changed to protect the innocent

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