……. A letter to parents from awhile back, about Halloween Images………
Halloween is upon us, as are all the images, sounds and feelings that walk hand in hand with this tradition. Halloween gives us a chance to examine our fears, and it allows us to acknowledge our safe shelters. At school we have been talking, listening to stories, drawing, painting,singing, writing, glittering and gluing all around, under and through these very important issues.
One thing happened in class today that was such a wonderful example of how child created images are perceived by kids so very differently from adult or media created images.
A child approached our kid hammered, woven, handcrafted and painted “spooky spider web”. His eyes were wide, examining details with his fingers, feeling along the cracks for paint drips and glitter. He recognized and commented on some of the things he had contributed to this group project, with pride. He took a long and silent look at it, turned to me and announced seriously…”This is really scary.”
Then he moved on to work in his journal in a very relaxed way.Other kids came and went, seeking their spider, or the memorable nail they hammered, or the piece of yarn they helped to weave into our community web.
Not one kid went off and started any frantic spider killing or shooting play. There was no spooky spider related aggression. There were comments like…”Wow….” or “Whoa!” …”Scary.”, and there was one conversation about “…if they were real spiders….”.
Some of the children had created the spiders to be very scary, and because they drew on their own knowledge and images, they were able to emotionally handle and integrate these images. They were totally “in charge”.
What if we had hung up instead a poster of Batman, or Dracula, or Spider Man, or any such “other” created image? We could count on a very different feeling tone in the room indeed. Not “in charge”, but anxious and aggressive behavior instead… all an attempt at mastery of the feelings these “other” created characters evoke.
This Halloween, and all through the year, our children need our wisdom regarding exposure to frightening and confusing sights and sounds, and our unconditional emotional protection.
Have a happy and safe Halloween.