A teacher shared a humorous incident that occurred in her classroom when reading a story about a toad to her first grade class, after which they were to write their own story.

“How do you spell toad?” one of the students asked.

“We just read a story about a toad,” the teacher said, pleased that the child had been listening so carefully. Then she helped him spell it out: “T-O-A-D.”

Satisfied, the student finished writing the story he’d begun, then read it aloud: “I toad my mama I wanted a dog for my birthday.”

That funny story shows that even though children are listening, you never know what exactly they are thinking. But at the end of the day, they need to be able to tell their own stories and come to their own conclusions. Let me explain…

Recently a British Columbia environmental campaigner was the recipient of an annual award of (US) $2 million compliments of a global organization, an organization that supports projects aimed at curbing climate change.

The recipient, Tzeporah Berman is the co-founder of an organization which conducts environmental campaigns such as preventing the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline. It’s no surprise that Berman has said she plans to use her award money to develop programs that will (among other things) stop new oil and gas development.

Upon receiving the award, she said she was honored to receive the funds at such a critical
moment in history, and went on to explain, “This summer’s fires in the Amazon and the Arctic are a wake- up call for all of us, and yet even wealthy countries such as my own continue to expand oil and gas production. If your house is on fire, you don’t add more fuel. We need new global strategies to stop the expansion of the oil and gas industry and build a safer future.”

Her words seem to imply that the increase in fires is caused by oil and gas production, and also suggests eliminating oil and gas production would decrease fires, lower temperatures and make our world a safer place.

In the article I was reading, Berman is pictured giving a talk about her concerns regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline and our reliance on fossil fuels. Her audience consisted of teachers attending a teachers conference in Edmonton for social studies and environmental and outdoor education.

Her concerns will inevitably be passed on to students, but will those same students receive relevant information from the oil and gas sector? It’s doubtful that will happen, but it is necessary.

The rest of the story needs to be told to the next generation. They need to be told about the strict environmental, safety regulations and monitoring that takes place in the energy sector. They need to be aware that Canadian energy contributes to the manufacturing of thousands of petroleum-based products that they use daily in their homes. They need to be aware of all the various professions involved in the industry, from engineers to environmental and safety management. And are they made aware that our country imports oil from countries that do not share our democratic values, human rights values or follow our environmental standards?

Like the radio broadcaster, Paul Harvey used to say after he had captured his listener’s attention with a particular story, “And now you know the rest of the story.”

And that is what is so unfortunate; our children may not hear “the rest of the story” so they will be able to offer constructive advice as they grow up to become contributing adults in our communities. It’s up to parents and grandparents to tell their children the rest of the story, because we don’t always know what our children are being toad.

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Joan Janzen
Joan Janzen resides in Kindersley where she enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering, working as a graphic artist, reading, and of course writing. She likes to compare her column 'Check It Out' to crafting a cake. Sweetness of humor and buttery flavor combine with otherwise hard to swallow zucchini-like information, resulting in a flavorful and fulfilling sensation.