Parade, procession or teaching moment? April 08 2018 3 Comments


When we first moved to Toronto, we rented a house just off a main road. 

Pope John Paul II was in office at that time.  I liked how he was relating to young people. At the last minute I heard that he was coming to Toronto. He would land at Downsview airport and would be driven right past our street on his way downtown.

We are not Catholic, but I thought it would be a nice moment for our sons to see him, particularly our six-year-old. So, I quickly gathered the kids and ran out to the street to watch the procession, for what I saw as a teaching moment, a moment in history we could be a part of.

Police cars passed in front of us, then the “Pope Mobile.” John Paul II was standing and waving as he slowly drove by. There were not a lot of people on our section of the route so he waved right at us. Pretty exciting stuff, or so I thought.

When the procession was over, I asked my son, “So, what did you think about that?” He responded, “Pretty good, but would have been better with a few clowns.”

For the child expecting a parade, it was underwhelming. For the parent anticipating a teaching moment, it was mediocre. As a story repeated at family gatherings, it’s a winner.  

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