My Son Believes In The Moon


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There are days when he can’t see it due to the weather or its location. But that’s okay because he knows it’s there. He has seen it before. What I am referring to is my three-year old son’s belief in the moon.

Death is not something that my son can understand and to be quite honest, at 44 years old neither do I. My son was two years old when our dog( Booth) passed away at the age of 17. He knew him when he was in his decline and so the fact that my son never got too attached to him may have been a good thing because his departure wasn’t as traumatic as I imagine it could’ve been.

And yet there are days when my son Derek will see photos of Booth and he will say “I miss Boothies.” That’s what we affectionately called him. We then tell him that Booth is alright. What do you tell a three-year old that they will really understand? We’ve said he is in Heaven. But truly, this is just a word to him and Heaven is not really a concept that I can fully comprehend, so I’m certain my three-year old cannot.

So next we told my son that Boothies is on the Moon. We weren’t quite sure how this would work, but it was worth a shot.

Well he has latched onto it. In fact, last night he talked about knocking Boothies off of the Moon so he can come down and see us. It was priceless! Why not? He watches shows with rocket ships and superheroes and dare I admit that he has even watched a Star Wars cartoon or two?

So his plan to knock Boothies off of the Moon wasn’t really that far-fetched. This piece isn’t about religion and it isn’t about astronomy. It is about what our children believe. More than anything it is about what our children can’t see.

You see, my son can see the Moon. At least he can on most nights. And so the thought of his dog, who passed away a year ago, running and jumping around up there seems at least like a possibility to him. At least for now. Why wouldn’t it?

And I’m not about to tell him otherwise. His understanding of life and death will evolve as he grows older and he will eventually come to some understanding that makes sense to him.

Here’s my worry. What about the many kids we work with each and every day that cannot see the Moon? How can they make sense of the world they live in? Or do they even try? Many are living in such a state of chaos and distress that they cannot even see past the clouds. They are so busy just trying to satisfy their basic needs that they have not the time or the opportunity to even look upwards.

And so they can’t dream.
And they can’t imagine.
And they no longer even try to make sense of Life because Life simply just happens them.

The action figures they once played with are gone. The spaceships they once flew in have long since been grounded. And they are left with only what is, never even a thought about what could be.

If our children cannot see the Moon. If they are not even aware of its existence, then we must rope it in. We must bring it closer so that they can see even its smallest ridges. Or better yet, we can take them there. We have this power. We read story books and spin tales every day. Why not start teaching our students that they can be in them? Better yet, why not show them that they have the power to create them?

Once we do, I think we will be amazed at what takes place. What they come up with may surprise us. It may not be accurate and it may not make sense. But why does it have to? I doubt that anyone reading this piece is able to fully grasp the world in which they live.

But it doesn’t stop us from trying!
And we won’t.
Because, like my son, we can see the Moon. And we have built our rocket ships.

It’s time we help our students locate the Moon so they can start building their’s. I think we at least owe it to them to try.

Now you’ll have to excuse me. My son will be up in a few minutes and I need to prepare for take off.

rocket ship

Our rocket ship


  1. Jon,
    As always, your connections to your family are beautiful and spot-on. Thank you for this wonderful analogy.

    In my work, I interact with many students who have experienced trauma or are encountering significant emotional or mental health issues. Your description that many are living in such chaos and distress that they cannot see past the clouds is in line with what I experience. It is so important for us to reign in the moon so that every child has a chance to experience it, no matter what they are living with or through right now in their daily life. I agree that we will all be amazed at the creativity, reflection, and insight that they will demonstrate.

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful reflections with us!

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