Today, on Thursday, April 12, school children coast to coast, are invited to wear jerseys to school in honour of the tragic event in Saskatchewan. Fifteen members of the Humboldt Bronco’s family lost their lives when a transport truck collided with the team’s bus, en route to a play off game. Many more were seriously injured; some will never walk again.
The country is in mourning. Flags across everywhere are being flown at half mast. Many of us put our hockey sticks on our front porches in solidarity. We all feel this pain together as a nation. We are a hockey country. So many of us have children whose love for the rink is a central part of their entire family’s life. This loss of these young men and their coaches is profound.
While many school boards across the country are actively participating in Jersey Day on Thursday, inviting all of their students to wear one in solidarity, my school board is not among them. They are actively not participating, because I guess we still live in a world of snowflakes where we’d rather shield our kids from reality than discuss it in an age-appropriate way they can understand. The reason we were given at my school? “It brings furthur attention to this horrific accident and some parents have already expressed concern about the impact on their own children,” the Vice Principal told me.
They don’t want to bring further attention to a horrific accident? They’d rather we take advantage of our privilege to ignore it? What if it was students at our school? It could have been. We’re lucky it wasn’t.
History is made up of tragedy; wars and death and all-around awful things people had to endure. We expect schools to educate our kids about these events in age-appropriate ways so that they’re not forgotten. “We had our council meeting last night as well, and the way our principal explained it was this….” another mom shared on Facebook. “We are a K to 8 school and while the older students may understand the reason for doing this, the younger students may not. We do not want to confuse them thinking this is some kind of spirit day (which are happy occasions and this clearly is not). This may lead to many questions that we think are best left up to the parents to have and not our teachers. While we cannot stop any student from participating, we will not encourage them nor endorse it, from the school or the board’,” she said.
Ah, I get it; actual Jersey Days should be completely devoid of meaning. Gotcha. Surrounding school boards are encouraging jerseys. Heck, the catholic board in my area is too. My school board, however, would rather we bury our heads in the sand and ignore it. As one woman said in a group on Facebook, it’s a missed opportunity to teach our children about compassion. “Our school initiated it here (with a message about giving support in times of need), flags are half mast at the gov building, and they are switching the lights to green to light up the building. I doubt the teachers would go into graphic detail about what happened, and kids will hear their parents talk about it or see it on the news anyway,” she said.
Why can’t the school explain the reason behind the initiative in an age-appropriate way, much like every. Single. Thing. We do in schools? The amount of money raised on the Go Fund Me page, the number of people who have contributed, and the number of countries from which those contributions have come is proof of the vastness of the hurt and support being felt around the world and the support and solidarity people feel compelled to express.
My kids will wear their jerseys and I’m going to dust off my Brian McCabe Leafs jersey. The whole country is coming together to show support for an entire community that is grieving. We stand with them. Canada stands with them, whether our school board thinks our kids can handle it or not.
As one of my friends so eloquently put, “We’ve all been on that bus, or known people who were. My kids both play hockey and lacrosse and could one day be on that bus. I used to spend a lot of time riding that bus when I was younger. Hours spent hanging out with team mates, innocently talking about everything under the sun, without a clue that in the blink of an eye it all could have changed.”
That’s why we should all come together. That’s why we should all care. That’s why we should all wear jerseys.
Photo credit: Huffington Post
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