Guess what was the children’s game of choice this evening for our weekly family night? Playing SURVIVAL! In the living room we set up the toy tent and pretended to live in the woods. The men got up in the morning to go hunting and the ladies cooked a good stew over the fire…
Why would our children think it is fun to pretend such things? Shouldn’t we protect our younguns’ from the possible terrors of the future, so they don’t get anxious and fearful? I greatly disagree! We rob our children of confidence in their ability to face a crisis if we don’t prepare them for what could happen! Children in our society can play every computer game around, but have no clue how to survive without modern conveniences.
When I was in elementary school we had fire drills. The teacher would inform us ahead of time and remind us of what to do when the fire alarm sounded. Were we scared? No way! It simply became a familiar routine and to us a great diversion.
At our house we’ve practiced our fire escape plan. In the back bedrooms the only escape could be through a window, so we have practiced opening the window and screen and helping little ones out. Did anyone get scared? Of course not! It was done in a relaxed setting and the adults were not scared and tense, so why would the children be?
On the other hand, if you have “protected” your children from fear and one night the smoke alarm goes off for real, the tendency to panic is great, a most dangerous threat to survival.
Our children feel confidence, not fear or anxiety, about what could happen. We do them a favor to talk about possible scenarios ahead of time and practice appropriate steps with no fear or tension present. To them it’s another great thing to pretend, and they will be much more prepared emotionally in the event that it does happen.