In our house we have all the categories of kids.
The older two are the “bigs.”
The younger two are the “littles”
Other categories include the “middles,” the “ends” the “boys and the “girls.”
And those categories take care of all the possible pairings of 2 of the four kids.
At bedtime we have different rules for the “bigs” than we do for the “littles.”
The “bigs” still have to be quiet starting at 8, but they don’t have to surrender their devices until a little later.
The “littles” have to head right to bed at 8.
And most nights, everything is okay, but the one thing that can throw a wrench in the works is whether or not the “littles” watched something scary on youtube.
They still go to bed at 8, but inevitably there is a series of tiny knocks on my door asking for all sorts of things.
“I need water”
“I can’t find my (insert unnecessary item here)”
“(Sibling) is being mean”
“(Sibling) is already asleep and I am scared.”
What follows is me feigning patience while I ask a series of questions intended to help me figure out what exactly they are scared of, and then I get to play “good dad” and walk them through what they can do to not be scared of those things.
But there is one thing they fear that I can’t seem to talk them through.
As human beings we tend to have baked into our psyche a fear of the dark. It doesn’t matter what age, or where we are, or what is happening. Darkness sets us a little more on edge, and the only thing that can help is typically light.
There is a lesson in this.
As humans we are not a very old species, and so much of our instincts are hard wired into us from an ancient version of humans. They feared the dark because they could not see the danger approach.
They feared the dark because sometimes it meant death.
And the only solution to that fear was light.
While things aren’t quite as dangerous for us at night as they used to be, there is still something to be said for light being the only effective solution for fear of the dark.
These days we seem to be bombarded with information, some of which is designed to keep us in the dark, and some of which is intended to bring things to light.
And it can be hard to tell the difference.
To me though, the sources of information that are more likely to be bringing things to light are asking for more information, and more accountability and more people speaking.
And those that want to keep things in the dark prefer a stance of withholding information, and demanding less accountability, and fewer people speaking.
And that should be the first standard by which we decide if there is something to fear, are people hiding behind words like “trust me, it’s fine.” Or are they being fully transparent?
If someone withholds information, and then says, “trust me” that is a dead giveaway that I should not trust them.
It’s a dead giveaway they are trying to keep me in the dark.
And the only cure for the dark… is the light.