How do you teach a kid to face their fears? My dad used magic.
One night when I was about five, a severe thunderstorm had me out of my bed and trembling in fear. My dad took me to the window (I know, you’re not supposed to go to windows during storms) where I could see a rare and wondrous event. If I looked closely, I could see magic dragons playing in the mud puddles. (Should I mention I grew up in the 60’s when “Puff, the Magic Dragon” was popular?) If they were out playing, he reasoned, all danger was past.
As time went on, he coached me to take magic dragons with me whenever I was afraid. With a magic dragon by my side, I was brave enough to go down to the basement after dark and lock the back door. I can still remember walking slowly down the stairs, right hand on the railing and left hand out for the dragon.
I’m not sure what the message was–perhaps “face your fears”–perhaps “I’ll never leave you.”
Whatever the subtext, the dragons worked their magic. They became a life-long bond between my father and me. When he traveled four days a week, I was comforted that his CB handle “Magic Dragon” would keep him safe. When we traveled, we’d pick up a random dragon souvenir for each other.
Dad has been gone for almost 15 years now, but the funny looking dragons on the mantle remind me that he’ll always be with me.
© Laura Hedgecock
Check out treasurechestofmemories.com, Laura’s site about memory sharing.