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Sunday, 3 October 2010

Death of a Firefly (The Princess and the Frog)

"What happening?" the Toddler asked.
The animated feature film, The Princess and the Frog showed a firefly, whose light had gone out, gently cradled in a leaf and set afloat by his friends while sombre music played. In his year-and-a-half lifetime of watching cartoons he had never seen anything like this and could not understand. It was also the first time ever that he had ever asked me to explain something on TV.

"He died," I said, "And his friends are saying goodbye."

Explaining death caught me unprepared, but this is how it will be if I live in a way that will expose this child to difficult and complex topics and situations.

We kept watching the animation. During the crying, a new light shone down from the sky and then all of the firefly's friends were happy and really joyful. It was a kind and gentle treatment that I will cherish. Disney has helped us through deaths of beloved characters, think of Bambi's mother. Thank you Disney for that soft step in that difficult area. Handling death in storytelling is a very important task. It is not always going to be easy though. One of my nieces covered her ears when I retold the outcome of the hand-to-hand combat between Achilles and Hector in the story of Troy. Said she was not old enough to hear that story.