"Those are his bags! They're awesome!"

What I think this comic does is present that ongoing truth about how much we can learn from children. As a therapist, I work with many different kids for a living, and there is much I take away from my interactions with them. Kids are just wide open to something different from them (most of the time), and somewhere along the line, we grow up and become more intolerant of things we don't understand. We can learn that openness from our kids.

Below is the story submission on Cancer Owl from my survivor friend, Mitch.

line break

As the school year ended for my kids, their third-grade teacher hosted an "Author's Tea" party on one of the final days. Parents got to come to the classroom for an hour and sit with a small group of kids (including their own) and were treated to cookies and juice while the class got to read stories they had written for the event. Having volunteered at school pretty frequently over the past few years, most of my son's classmates already knew me and were excited to see me. What I didn't expect was one little girl noticing my ileostomy and urostomy bags poking out from under my shirt and asking what they were. Without missing a beat my son proudly proclaimed, "Those are his bags! They're awesome!" 

Cue him telling them about how it means that my farts don't smell (untrue) and "you can see the bags blowing up like a balloon!" Mortified, my wife and I just stared for a moment, unsure of how to respond or address the topic. A slew of curious questions and a few very carefully chosen responses came out, basically explaining how one bag was for "number one" and the other was for "number two" but that I still use the bathroom to empty them in the toilet. There were no looks of horror or disgust, just curious little faces who wanted to know more. I can only imagine what kind of conversations the kids had at home later on. But they got to learn about something and they showed immediate acceptance and willingness to discuss a topic that far too many "adults" are squeamish over.

Cancer Owl - Bags are awesome

Article credit: Cancer Owl