My three-year-old Caly often wakes up screaming in the dead of night. Jolted out of sleep, I run to her room as fast as I can only to be greeted with the same two words: “I’m scared.”
“What are you scared of Caly-girl?” I ask
“I’m just scared,” she whimpers.
A few hugs and kisses and she’s happy to be tucked back in to bed.
Well do I remember my own night-time fears as a child. Just ask me about my lobster dream sometime. It still gives me shivers.
So how do we help our small children deal with middle-of-the night fears?
Dr. Russell Moore—himself a father of small children—recently offered this insightful answer:
“The kids know—they instinctively know—that they’re living in a universe in which something’s gone awry. It’s not our job—as parents, or as Sunday school teachers—to disengage that. It’s our job to come in and to provide an answer to that. Yeah, you’re living in an enchanted world. Yeah, you’re living in a haunted world. You’re living in a world haunted by demonic powers. That’s exactly right—what you deeply fear is indeed the case… Your worrying about the monster under the bed isn’t unreasonable; there’s a monster under the fabric of the cosmos. Instead, we give them a story that provides the only comfort that really is lasting comfort; it’s a comfort that the enemies have been defeated.”
I am going to add a few words to my middle of the night hugs and kisses routine. Yes, Caly-girl, we live in a scary world, but we don’t need to be afraid. The monster has been crushed. And the One who crushed him, He’s right here in this room.
—from the archives