Scaring children in a good way
Children soooo very much love to be scared. Yep, they truly do. Ask most any appropriately-aged child if they’d like to hear a scary story. Almost all will squeal, “Yes!”
And what’s more…if you allow children to be “fittingly” frightened (there is much art to such an endeavor - not too much, not too little), then it can be very good for them. Very good, indeed.
Though a scary story might seem like just plain old shivery fun to children, it can also be a remarkably transferrable real-life learning experience. If done right.
As a teacher, I told my class scary stories as Halloween neared each year. I even transformed the stories into science lessons. After I told a scary story, the children then initiated “scientific thinking and reasoning”, discussing the “probability” of certain parts of the story being scientifically true, or not. They learned to go by “facts and evidence”, not just by what they “believed” to be true, or by what emotion alone told them. Countless “higher level thinking skills” flourished from these scary stories being told.
I not only told scary stories, I enacted them for and with the children. In real life.
Once upon a time I dressed up in a Great White Ape suit and leaped from the Steele’s Creek Park woods to seize children who were passing by.
Yes, there’s much more to the story, as there always is. (And with yours truly, there was always the “deeper purpose” of helping children learn to face their fears - as they would so often have to do in life, in countless ways.)
The previous day, while we were all in the classroom, I had told my students of the Great White Ape’s existence - and warned them that he ate children.
Then the very next day, my very good friend and fellow teacher, Glen Eads, brought the children on our pre-planned school field trip, telling them that Mr. Talley couldn’t make it because he was sick.
So at just the right spot in the woods, Mr. Eads recounted the dangers of the Great White Ape, who lurked nearby. At that precise moment I leaped from the trees (not sick at all, but disguised in full Great White Ape costume) to seize a child. The other children began to scream and run in fright. Well, all but one.
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