The Co-Founder of two of our favorite New York Kids’ programs, NY City Explorers and Backpacks and Binoculars‘ own Kisha Edwards-Gandsy, wrote a beautiful piece that resonates in the wake of Baltimore’s upheavals this week. She kindly agreed to let us share it on the KidNimble blog:
So, we’re reading one of my son’s favorite bedtime books “The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig” for the twelfth time in 12 days. This slightly comical twist is a very intriguing adaptation for my kids and son particularly. The big bad pig saunters angrily through the woods on the mission to destroy the houses of the three little wolves by any means necessary no matter how strong the wolves’ handiwork. (The wolves started with bricks in this version and skipped the sticks and straw!) When huffing and puffing doesn’t work the first time, the pig pulls out a sledgehammer and knocks down the house of bricks. When huffing and puffing doesn’t work the second time, the pig pulls out the pneumatic drill and crumbles the house of concrete. And finally when huffing and puffing doesn’t work the third time, the pig pulls out dynamite and blows the steel, heavy duty, ultra tough house to smithereens. The wolves barely get away, nearly defeated, with no shelter.
The root of my children’s collective intrigue of this story was trying to understand the motivation of this bitter pig. The author offered no explanation. And they desperately needed one.
On this particular night, the kids were interrupting the story with questions even more than usual, and my eldest daughter Haven raised her hand. I nodded for her to say her piece and she said,
“Mama, I finally know why the pig is acting like this. That pig is the mama of the three little pigs from history that got chased and almost eaten by the mama of those little wolves.”
PAUSE. They all looked up for the answer.
I said, “You may be right Haven. Revenge can motivate anger. Another option is that the pig could also just be afraid of wolves. Or doesn’t trust wolves or doesn’t want to live around wolves or believes what others have said about wolves. Besides in the original story the wolf was just hungry, right?”
She listened to me and nodded. I could tell she wasn’t swayed. I would be fighting mad if some bully had torn my kids’ houses and lives apart years ago just because he wanted to consume them for his own sustenance. And it may have festered for years too. And then watching that bully’s kids build big strong, houses in their own neighborhoods and expecting me to just walk by…… Forgiving is hard, and I’m not sure forgetting is often possible.
Fear, ignorance, and festering hate. Open wounds can dig like deep trenches in the spirit if they are never tended to. Instigators of destruction. Instigators of disruption. Instigators of pain. The wolves and pigs said not one productive word to each other while all of this was happening in this comical book. The pattern was there. Build. Destroy. Rebuild. Destroy.
In the wake of current events, there are so many of us who are struggling for answers, struggling for comfort, and are at a loss of words. People have to be hurting to want to hurt others. Healing is necessary and hate is such a stubborn, debilitating illness.
In the end, the wolves grew tired of preparing for victimization and decided that since the pig was going to destroy whatever they built any way, they may as well just build a house out of a diverse assortment of fragrant flowers, and share the beauty of the flowers with the pig. This stopped the bitter pig in his tracks. The pig finally breathed, relaxed, and took the time to get to know the wolves whose homes he had destroyed three times. And the wolves forgave the pig. The kids smile at this. To them, it’s humanly possible to forgive, forget, move on, and love.
Getting to the root of the complexity of the current events and state of social affairs in our country is like peeling an onion for every citizen. Everyone’s tears will tell a story. And everyone deserves their page in the book.
I’m praying for peace. Lives simply mattering is just not enough. We need to all be able to live in peace to be free. If all of us don’t live in peace, none of us live in peace.