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by Amanda Murray on February 26, 2014
The other morning my wife and I were awakened by sounds of our two year old screaming from his bedroom. My wife jumped out of bed, rushed to his room and brought him back to our room. He kept saying “the man was going to get me.” As a father, I then jumped out of bed and searched the house. There was nothing to find as you probably figured.
I asked my son about “the man” and got little information. Supposedly “the man” was not in the house, or lucky for me, in the room (“I see dead people.” – The Sixth Sense) but he was on the street. So of course I peered out the window and of course, I didn’t see anyone. I knew this was a dream but at the same time, having watched too many Criminal Minds episodes, the possibility of an intruder freaks me out.
As a dad this experience led me to ask where my two year old learned about the idea of being “gotten”? I’ve used that phrase before of “I’m going to get you”, but it has never been a bad experience for my son. I asked this question of my wife and she helped me understand that a few of the movies he has watched have a bad guy who does try to get the main character. A great example is Finding Nemo, which is rated G, and has sharks who chase Nemo’s dad and Dory for a period of time. Maybe the idea came from there but who knows… because my son definitely doesn’t know. I had to come to terms with the idea that even if I wanted to protect my son from this fear, he already had this concept and it was very real to him.
As a father, I want nothing more than to protect my boys. I believe our heavenly father feels that way too. I look at the world around my kids and I can’t imagine them growing up in it. I want to shield them from the influences of the culture we live in. But as a Christian, I realize that our heavenly father, who also wants to protect his children, has every resource to protect them and doesn’t. He doesn’t hide me away. He doesn’t shield me or pull me out. If anything, he at times shoves me deeper in. He surrounds me with the culture and then even asks me to be light. So as a young father, this makes no sense…until I go to scripture.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
If I believe scripture, I’m not afraid of this world. God has overcome the world. No matter how bad I think it is here, God is in control.
After that morning of fear, throughout the day my son kept bringing up that “the man was going to get him”. I passionately told him that Daddy was going to protect him from “the man” but it was interesting how that didn’t suffice. I don’t think my son thought that I would stop “the man”. So feeling concerned for him, I prayed. I prayed that God would console my son in a way that my words couldn’t… and too if this was some premonition that some man was going to get him, he wouldn’t. A little bit later my son said again that “the man was going to get him” and this time I replied (a bit less honestly) “I got that man.” And to my surprise, his face changed to excitement. It was as though he wanted to know that “the man” was stopped in his tracks. Now, I realize I didn’t get the man in his dreams, but I want to represent to him that I did get that man taken care of.
One of my favorite paraphrased quotes is from G.K. Chesterton…“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
My son knows there are bad things and even bad people but I want him to know that those things haven’t won and won’t win. My son knows that “daddy got that man”. He has no reason to fear. Even if that man comes back to his dreams I hope he rests in the fact that “daddy got that man” as he now says. Joyfully this is a prelude to the fact that one day, my son and I will talk about sin. I will have to explain to my son what sin is and how it reigned on this earth but what is beautiful is that I will then get to explain about how sin was “gotten”. He sees me right now as the one who got “the man” in his dreams, but one day he will get to understand that Jesus is the one who got “the man” of this world.
– Clinton Pfalser, Summer Camp Manager
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