Many thanks for supporting us on Sunday. What a fantastic day!
I can't believe how you captivated so many children throughout the day - magical!
Feedback so far has been brilliant, and museum attendance on the day was a staggering 1933 people. At the core of the event, it was great to see so many mums and dads interacting with their children.
Many thanks again for your help, you were marvellous!
One off events, like Errol's Dadtastic day at Leeds Museum, are often my favourite part of Susie Sparkles working life. I love being part of something that volunteer organisers have put their heart and soul into. I love seeing the work of all the other contributors and performers and when the community comes together and all that hard work pays off you can't beat the fuzzy warm glow you get knowing you've been a small part of something truly special.
But that isn't really what this blog is about. This blog is about a moment I shared at that event with a little girl called Eve who at just five years old demonstrated more compassion and emotional intelligence than many people 6 times her age are capable of.
Towards the end of the Dadtastic Fathers day event I was doing some character interaction as Anna from Frozen and as I was helping Eve make her Daddy a fathers day card she turned to me with a thoughtful face and almost in a whisper asked...
Does fathers day make you sad?
It had occurred to me in my planning of the event that as the Frozen sisters I would have to avoid talking about their Daddy since, well, you know, but it surprised me that this little girl would have the same insight.
Although it shouldn't have surprised me really I've been working with children long enough to know that you should never underestimate the ability of a child to see and understand rather more complex situations than we give them credit for.
I could have pretended I hadn't heard her and changed the subject. That would have been the easiest thing to do, but it didn't seem like the right thing to do. I didn't know what had prompted Eve's question but it deserved a thoughtful answer. So as Anna I said...
"Sometimes it makes me a little bit sad. My Daddy was very special but I know he wouldn't want me to be too sad. He would want me to be happy and to look after people and make sure they were happy too. Especially Elsa."
Eve said knowingly and went back to sticking flowers on the top of her pictures of dinosaurs.
"Look Anna they're wearing hats!"
She didn't dwell on the answer I'd given her and probably wasn't even aware of how deep that moment had just been. She asked her question got a satisfactory answer and moved on.
It's not easy when young children ask profound questions about life and death and there is no easy way or right way to answer but I think there's a lot of value in just listening, acknowledging those thoughts and giving the most thoughtful answer you can muster and if possible shine a bit of light into the darkness and bring a smile to an otherwise gloomy place.
I'd love to hear about the difficult questions your children have asked and how you choose to answer so please get in touch to share your stories