While I was working with the Starlight Foundation who grants wishes for children who are terminally, conically and seriously ill, I met a family who had a five year old boy, Tyler, who had leukemia.
One day when I visited him, his family hadn’t come in to visit yet and he confided in me.
He asked if he could talk with me about something and of course I agreed.
“My parents are always worried about me.” he said with the strength that belied his tender young age.
“Yes, of course they are, they love you very much.” I offered.
“But they don’t spend any time with Troy.” he confessed.
“Sure they do.” I hoped I was right.
“But since I got cancer, that’s all anyone talks about.” he was so serious.
“I don’t think they mind, they just want you to get better.” I held his had.
“But if I were to die, they could go back to being happy.” he claimed as though he was telling me what he had just had for lunch.
“Tyler, that isn’t true. They want you to get healthy and they will never be happy if you die. I know it’s hard on you and your brother, but you will get through this and then you and Troy can start having fun again.” my heart was breaking for the braveness of this little boy.
The hardest thing for Tyler was his parents would talk with him but talked about him as though he wasn’t even in the room.
Children are a lot smarter than we think. Engage in real conversations with them and talk with them as though you know how intelligent they truly are. Kids never miss a beat. It’s up to you to make them know they are important enough to be told the truth.