From Denise Albert of MomsandTheCity.net
“Can you please donate for Haiti?" Those were the words coming from my almost-five-year-old son, Jaron, while holding a Red Cross donation container last week in Times Square.
I never intended to integrate my "day” job with my Moms and The City column, but the two collided on their own when my own mom said to me, "It's amazing what Jaron is learning from David."
David as in David Blaine. The magician. My boss.
You see, by day, I'm David Blaine's producer. And when the earthquake hit Haiti, both David and I lost sleep over the horrific conditions and devastation. We decided together to help by having David do what he does best: magic.
He stayed in Times Square for 72 hours straight, performing street magic for anyone and everyone. We partnered with the Red Cross and began a three-day, three-night event with little notice, plans or production. Our small staff of 3, along with a host of friends, former co-workers, magicians and passerbys-turned-volunteers moved in to New York’s Times Square in order to make a difference by collecting money during this magic marathon.
When the story first broke, I wondered what to tell my kids about Haiti. As a former news producer, our living room backdrop is TV News.
Do I shut off the television? Hide the newspapers?
Do I pretend the catastrophe didn't happen? Do I shelter my children from life’s tough realities? Or do I face this head-on?
I chose the latter. I sat my older son down and explained the situation in Haiti in simple terms, and then I focused on the ways in which we could help. I told my kids what David was doing, and Jaron immediately said, "I want to help David". And he did. He confidently marched around with a bucket he could barely carry. He reached through crowds and thanked everyone for their help.
He proudly brought friends from school to "meet his friend David helping Haiti."
A few days after our event, my son said to me, "If there's an earthquake in NY, our building is strong enough, right!"
I thought for a second that maybe we shouldn't have told him. But that quickly passed. I feel confident that he is growing up knowing about the world in a most un-sheltered way. At such a young age he seems to feel empowered that he, too, can help others.
For David Blaine, it wasn't his biggest or best. But the message was bold and far-reaching. We all learned everyone truly can make a difference. My kids now know that firsthand. They will always know the importance of helping others, however they can.
I know my mom was proud of my part. I'm proud of the life's lessons now instilled in my kids. And as a mother, I know David's mom, who is no longer with us, would be profusely proud of her son.
Moms and The City is comprised of Denise Albert, Melissa Musen Gerstein and Raina Seitel Gittlin. Moms and The City appears every Tuesday in Metro. Please visit Moms And The City at MomsandtheCity.net and to learn more about David Blaine's Magic for Haiti, you can visit his site at: Davidblaine.com
How you can help earthquake victims