Olivia has been enjoying Veggie Tales lately. It has been a natural way for us to teach her a little bit about plots in stories having ‘good’ and ‘bad’ and how to deal with life when ‘scary parts’ come up. I don’t want her to grow up and not do things because they are scary to her or make her nervous. There’s so much great stuff in life that I think we need to teach our children how to balance the good and the bad and work on bravery instead allowing the spirit of fear to rule our lives. In my own personal experience the spirit of fear is a very tricky tool that the enemy uses to hold us back from the potential God has for us.
Olivia’s (and most kid’s) natural reaction to when something scary happens, is to run. To turn off the T.V., to run away from a challenge, to stay where it is safe. These are very important instincts to have, but too often I have found myself staying with in the ‘safe’ parameters of life and in the process missing out on a whole lot of fun and a whole lot of blessings that could have been mine. I don’t want that for Olivia. I want her to be confident in God and in herself and in the good in the world.
Veggie Tales has been a great way to start teaching this idea at a young age. In most of the great old Bible stories there is good and evil. Often in a Veggie Tales movie that is new to Olivia, she will come running to me during the part where conflict or evil threatens to win and wants me to turn off the T.V. Instead, I sit down with her and we watch together, talking it through as it happens. Dave and the Giant Pickle is a good example. We know that in the end David (Dave), small as he is, in his bravery and obedience to God, conquers Goliath (the giant pickle). If I had turned the movie off in the part where the giant is threatening poor little David, that would have been Olivia’s last memory of the movie, actually feeding her fear, and she will not have learned the lesson that the story is telling. If I walk her through it and we talk about God’s goodness, the good and bad in the world, and how she is a brave, strong, confident girl, she will hopefully carry this on into life’s situations.
We saw the fruits of this a few weeks ago when we brought her to Sunday School. Following Mikail’s death, she has had some understandable separation anxiety. We have been working at lovingly but firmly teaching her that we will not leave her forever. We will always come back to get her after the church service is over. A few weeks ago, all on her own, she came to us before we left for church and told us, “I’m a big, strong, brave girl. Today you don’t have to come in with me at Sunday School. I can do it alone today.” Hooray!!!
Growing up we traveled more than the average family of the time. 11 hour flights were not unusual, but that didn’t mean that the flights were anxiety free. My heart goes out to my parents, traveling with four children. I remember getting sick on many flights-mostly anxiety driven. I remember someone being carried onto many flights, the only way to get on~and it wasn’t a pretty scene. A few of us had and still have huge anxiety issues when traveling, but I must say that facing these anxieties head on, as we were encouraged to as children, has carried on into our adult life as well. No, it’s not easy, but I think of all the things we would have missed out on, had our parents catered to our fears. There would be friendships that would have never developed, cousins I would have never gotten to know, adventures with my dear husband we would never have gone on, places I would have never seen, funny stories I could never share.
I hope that by starting early, we can teach Olivia that she IS a big, strong and brave girl. I hope that we are able to teach her enough strategies in regards to dealing with anxieties that come up in life so that she will not cower in the corner and miss out on all the wonderful things that God has in store for her. Who knows how He is going to use her, but boy do I want to help equip her to be used in a big and mighty way.