Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I overheard a man tell of a moment that occurred while watching a film with his three-year-old daughter:

Onscreen, two dinosaur eggs hatched and the tiny young dinosaurs emerged. Suddenly, a huge dinosaur came out of nowhere and snatched one of the babies in his jaws.

My daughter was horrified. “Daddy! What’s he doing?!”

I didn’t know what to do, so I hugged her. “Don’t worry, he’s just taking the baby somewhere safe.”
Oh, no no no.

I know a bit about this man and know he had an honorable intention: to ease his tiny daughter through a terrible moment. But his immediate response was in direct conflict with a longer-term goal.

She’s obviously a smart kid -- she interpreted that violent scene spot-on and reacted appropriately. Assuming she was old enough to deal with the film’s content (a big assumption), the moment offered her dad an opportunity to help her cope with what she saw. But if her dad’s response did quiet her, it was probably due less to comfort and more to a stunned confusion from having her reality denied and rewritten. It’s called crazymaking, and what she learns is to not trust herself.

No comments:

Post a Comment