My son Daniel, now 6 years old, loves helping me sell books. This summer he has come with me to book signings and presentations. Most of the time he is off to the side coloring with my 2-year-old, Hope, so I don't usually worry that he's paying attention to what I'm talking about.
At my very first book signing, he told me he had an idea how I could sell more books. His eyes were bright and excited and I was curious. "Really? What's your idea?"
He leaned in and said with hushed words, "You could sell them for a quarter!"
I had to admit he was right; if I sold them for a quarter I would definitely sell more books.
Today Brian went back to work. (He's a teacher. The pre-semester stuff started today, and his eye had recovered enough from the Drain-O accident so he didn't have to wear his homemade--and quite colorful since he had to use kid craft items--pirate patch.) The kids and I went to the Post Office, which we do often to ship a book to this or that person. Daniel told the Post Office worker, "This is my Mommy's book." My heart filled with pride, but not for my book--for my son.
Then on the way home, he asked if he could look at my book (I had a copy in the front seat, don't remember why). I said sure and he reached from the backseat and took it. He hasn't been reading for that long, so I figured he would have fun finding words he could read, and of course not get anywhere near the actual subject material.
After a minute or two, I heard him flipping through the book and then he says, "This has a LOT of chapters!" I told him that yes, it was a book for big people so it had a lot of words in it. Then he asked if the women in the picture on the cover was the "stolen" woman.
Whoa, that caught my attention. I said no, then I asked him warily, "Do you know what my book is about?"
Those are the first two words on the back of the book. I had no idea he could sound out the word trafficking. Suddenly my idea of bringing him along to all these things started to feel like a very bad one. "Do you know what that is?"
He didn't, which was a relief. But now that we were talking about it, I needed to explain it to him. How do you explain human trafficking to a 6-year-old!?
I told him that in some bad places there were people who sold other people, and it was a very bad thing. As I sat there thinking if I were him I'd be wondering why in the world my mom wanted to write a book about that, I added, "One of the reasons I wrote the book was to help people know how to make it stop." I mentioned that that was why I talked to newspapers and the radio and TV, to help people find out how to rescue them.
This took the vague, incomprehensible subject into familiar territory for him. "Like Rescue Heroes!" he announced from the backseat.
I smiled. "Yes, like rescue heroes."
Suddenly this was a problem he could help with. He mentioned that people could learn how to be rescue heroes from watching them on TV (it's an animated series in case you don't have a 6-year-old), and if anyone wanted, they could borrow his Rescue Heroes movies so they could learn how to be rescue heroes, too.
Wow, here is my son, with no real clue about what human trafficking is or how terrible its affects are, but he understands the idea of people in need and others coming to rescue them, and he is ready to help.
I like the idea of it being that simple for all of us--there are people in need, and if the opportunity arises, we are ready to help.
P.S. If you want to watch the Rescue Heroes shows, Daniel says you can borrow his. Or it might be slightly more helpful to call the Trafficking Hotline and get info from them on how to be a rescue hero instead: 1-888-3737-888.