Friday, September 30, 2011
Dream Games With Children
A dear friend told me a story I love, about her grandson's first reaction to the concept of the "tooth fairy." After he lost his first tooth, she said to him, "Honey, if you put your tooth under your pillow, the tooth fairy will take it and leave you some money. He looked earnestly into her eyes and said; "I don't want that woman in my room."
I howled with laughter when she told me this and thought, we just have to pay more attention to the wisdom of children. Frankly, I never understood why the same protective adult who told me not to talk to or go with strangers expected me to be thrilled to sit on Santa's lap at some department store or let a clown hug me.
Children's instincts are usually spot on; the more they're encouraged to trust them, the better served they will be all their lives. Now I'm not talking about letting kids choose their menu or bedtime; I'm talking about listening to their thoughts and reactions and respecting their intuitive behaviors. And of course, listening to their dreams and encouraging their dream play.
Children find Active Dreaming techniques easy to incorporate into their flexible paradigms. They have no trouble acting out a dream character, drawing a picture or making up another ending.
You know from previous posts that I enjoy playing with nightmares; I find little kids can get into that easily. Did I tell you about the little boy (5?) whose big brother, (maybe 10), wanted to borrow the movie, "Jurassic Park" from the library? Browsing the shelves near by, I heard the little one say to his brother, "I always get nightmares when I watch that." Unable to help myself, I stepped up beside him, and said, "I get nightmares, too, when I watch scary movies. But you know, I can sometimes make them not so scary." He was shy, but interested; "How?" he said. "Do you like dinosaurs?", I asked him. "Yeah!" he said. "What's you're favorite one?" I asked him. "TRex!" he said. "Well, if I have scary dreams about dinosaurs chasing me, I would want to draw a picture of my favorite one, TRex, and give him a name and make him my buddy. I'd put the picture next to my bed and I know that if ever any dinosaurs chase me, my buddy TRex will protect me. And, I might even want to draw a story book about what we do together so I can remember and make more stories when I'm asleep." He looked at me, eyes wide, big smile and said, "Thanks!"
Not to be creepy, I stepped away and went on with my own library reverie, but you can bet my smile did not fit on my face.
Let's play dream games with our own dreams and then we'll know how to guide our children.
(The picture was drawn by another dear friend of mine, Allie Leigh, when she was maybe 12 or 13. She'll correct me if I'm wrong. She let me use it for "The Way of the Dreamer" DVDs so I'm guessing she won't mind my using it here. Again, she'll correct me if I'm wrong:-)