Imagination: Medicine for Challenging Times

Posted in: Uncategorized- Nov 11, 2016 No Comments

I had the honour of accompanying a little boy and his mother to the Children’s Hospital the other day, where the boy was to have surgery.  He had had surgeries before and was nervous about the mask they would put on his face to make him “sleep,” and he really did NOT want to wear the “gross” striped pajamas.  He was feeling nervous about what would happen to him while he was sleeping.

I told him a dragon had come to me in my home to tell me that he was a protector of children having surgery and that he would be there in the operating room guarding the boy the whole time and protecting him from any “bad guys.”

At ages 4-6, when the imagination is so strong and the logical mind has not yet awakened, children experience many fears.  Monsters, bad guys, the dark, witches and ghosts are some of the scary images that can torment a young child’s mind.

I also told this dear boy that the mask he would wear for surgery was to scare off any “bad guys,” I used his own language so that he would easily identify.  The pajamas were to make him invisible, so he would be safe and protected.  Feeling safe was very important to this boy.

The dragon would watch over him and breathe fire on anyone who would dare to cause him harm.  Such a person would immediately turn to dust from the heat of the dragon’s fire.

His mum asked me to bring along some rescue remedy, perhaps more for mum than for the boy.  None the less, I presented it to him, telling him it was dragon magic brew.  He took it willingly, commenting “it’s a bit spicy!”  ”Dragons like things hot and spicy,” I replied.

Well, as it turned out, the boy’s surgery had to be cancelled due to an emergency surgery need the surgeon was called to.  Instead, we went for pizza, the little guy had been fasting all morning; picked-up my son and headed to the park.

The boy’s mum thanked me for the stories and told me that she had never thought of using imaginative play to support her son during stressful times.  It’s true, often as parents we are so concerned with our children doing what we know is best for them, and in a certain time frame, that we present in a linear way that does not meet the spirit of the child.  Then we meet their resistance, tantrums and our own frustration!

So, the next time you have to give medicine to your child or are tucking them into bed and they cry, “don’t turn the light off!,” slip into your own child-like imagination and see what you can conjure-up.  Use your child’s favourite imagery and language to really connect with their imagination.  Your heart will feel happy as you watch their innocent eyes grow wide and their bodies begin to relax.

Satkiana Swan

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