Setting: My son Joel’s bedroom. About 9:30 pm on a Wednesday night. I’m there to tuck him in. He’s been in bed for at least 15 minutes before I get there.
Joel: I can’t stop thinking about the wolves.
Mom: What wolves?
Joel: The wolves in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I keep thinking about them chasing me and attacking me.
Mom, pensively: Hmmmm.
I’m wondering how to help him over this. I remember being that age, when things like this are very real. I spend several minutes thinking about it, to no avail. I decide to “go fishing,” to ask him questions and see if his answers can help me help him.
Mom: How do we make the wolves go away? What can we do?
Joel: I don’t know. I just want them to disappear.
A swing and a miss. Spending more time thinking about it, an idea springs to mind:
Mom: Is my love stronger than the wolves?
This is an honest question: I do not know what is true for him. I want him to answer honestly.
This is spoken without hesitation. Slightly puzzled, I proceed:
Mom: Is Daddy’s love stronger than the wolves?
Again, spoken without hesitation. I need to know if this is his truth, or if he’s just telling me what he thinks I want to hear.
Mom: Are you sure?
This time he looks puzzled.
Inside, I hope he’s told me the truth, because if he has, I’ve found the key.
Mom, with determination: Ok, I want you to remember something: love is stronger than the wolves. Love always wins against hate, because love is stronger. It always wins. Always. Can you remember that?
He nods his head and sets it on the pillow. I wait by his side, my hand on his arm. Without saying another word, he’s asleep within five minutes, and stays in bed all night. Next morning….
Mom: So, how did you sleep?
Joel, smiling: Fine.
Mom: What happened to the wolves?
Joel, puzzled: What?
Mom: The wolves. Remember, last night?
Joel, still smiling: Oh yea! They went away.
Mom: Wow! That’s pretty cool, isn’t it Joel?
Joel nods his head, still smiling. I say a silent prayer of gratitude. The wolves have never returned.
[Note: I don’t remember exactly when this happened. It probably happened a year or two before 2006, which was when I wrote this.]