Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Don't forget, little kids scare easily!

I was about 8 years old and my brother 6 when our family stayed over at a priest's house. The priest thought he would keep the relatively young kids entertained by putting on "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark". This was on a night where we had to spend the night alone in a strange room in a huge, old, house. The place used to be a seminary so it has LOTS of rooms and dark corridors....basically a scary place when you're under 10. Oh and the other thing, my brother and I were the only ones on the first floor. Our parents got a room downstairs.

Anyway, that movie left us "traumatized" for weeks. I will forever have that image of the guy's face melting and his eyes falling out of their sockets burnt into my brain. My brother has the same scary memories of the time. At the time, the priest obviously didn't realize that it would cause such problems for us.

I found myself making a similar mistake to the priest today.

Aaron and I were watching one of the Thomas and Friends episodes when he suddenly exclaimed that he no longer wanted to watch. It surprised me and I teased him a little. It was at a part where one of the trains needed to cross a "dangerous, rickety, old bridge". I didn't pay any attention at first and the train made it across the first time.

Aaron settled down but then another train had to make the crossing. This time Aaron came to sit on my lap and I had my hand rested on his chest. I noticed that the soundtrack added to some tension build up and the narrator's voice sounded more urgent. All this while, I could feel Aaron's little heartbeat getting faster.

So when he cried out again that he could not watch it anymore, I turned it off. The poor boy was genuinely disturbed by it. I could really feel his heart pounding by then. Shame on me for doubting him in the first place.

Its so easy for adults to overlook these little things that young children may experience. I feel so insensitive for calling Aaron "silly" the first time. Its actually perfectly understandable that he'd find the "suspense" and potential disaster disconcerting since his life so far has been shielded from any sorts of fears and uncertainties.

I guess we both have more to learn here. Aaron will need to deal with these types of emotions eventually. And I should be more sensitive and remember that he's still so little.


John said...

I can be difficult to explain the difference between what is a story (or make believe) and what is real.

It has become such a problem in society that far too many young people (and adults) have become desensitized to violence because of movies and video games. The violence then moves from the make believe world of movies and games into the real life world.

Some people enjoy scary movies for the "rush" that they get. Others don't.

For young Aaron and for mom, it takes communication and assurance. I think that you did just fine in recognizing what he was feeling.

Bilbo said...

John hits it right on the head once again!

Mike said...

I'll try again. What John said.