While reading A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child’s Mind, I was reminded of the importance of both mothers and fathers, and what each brings into the raising of children.
The author opens with an account of how his mom and dad each addressed the fear of a monster that kept him awake at night. His dad charged into the room with a stick and assured him that the monster had been driven from the closet. That sufficed for a night, but the monster returned. His mom then had him and his brother draw pictures of the monster, and then cut them up and burn them. That took care of the dragon they had seen so clearly in their imagination.
Mr. O’brien uses that incident to open a very interesting book that addresses the imagination of children, and how serious thought should be given on how to respond to their fears, and how discernment must be exercised in evaluating, and perhaps even limiting, what they read and watch. I found his thoughts about responding to their fears especially insightful.
“These are frequently called ‘irrational fears’, as if they were completely groundless, when in fact some of them may be well grounded indeed, though not based in the visible world. These I prefer to call metaphysical fears, or cosmic fears, and they are of a spiritual nature. It is a wise parent who recognizes the first awakenings of these mute dreads as the first buds of a spiritual faculty.”
“In a seeing-is-believing culture, which denies the existence of the supernatural world, the tendency is to repress all fears of invisible things. But if a child’s fear of monsters under the bed or dragons in the closet always are ridiculed as nonsense, his spiritual guard is in danger of being lowered, with the consequence of his becoming more vulnerable to spiritual evil and less sensitive to spiritual good.
“As his awareness of the presence of evil in the world expands, we must help him to overcome his real and imaginary fears with courage based upon faith that God is more powerful than evil. Just as my mother led me and my brother to destroy the dragon, so God leads us forward in battle against the enemy. We do not overcome evil with our own power, of course, but with Christ. Our children’s fears provide opportunities to learn this.”
God Bless, Rick