Cute Brothers Are Worried About Monsters
These twin boys are living proof that monsters still live in the world.
“Act your age!” you say? They are acting their age.
Even though some behaviorists and linguists and animal trainers have spent excruciating hours and effort to teach some primates and dolphins, and even parrots to recognize a handful of words, human children are still the only species to learn symbolic language naturally, even biologically. We learn language so well, in fact that our speaking skills grow at a faster rate than our ability to make sense of the world. By the ages of three or four we can communicate with our parents at the dinner table, but the only explanation for those shadowy areas of our life must be supernatural.
While the boy drinking from the sippy cup talks about monsters, “he’s mean,” his brother to his right offers the consolation that mommy and daddy will protect them from the monster by “punching him in the nose.”
Even though the monster is scary, it serves an important role, which is to strengthen the family bond. We can chuckle at such first world problems, while solemnly reflecting that throughout history children have had to suffer the same monsters as their parents in war and lawless places. Psychological monsters are frightening, but in the end they help us to grow. We can be somewhat grateful that they are only imaginary. This is a learning moment for both children. The one helps to elevate the other by offering a solution that works for the moment.
We don’t want our children to learn to punch their way through life, but before they grow into beings of reason, all little children know is that physical force is the only way to tame the monsters, who by their very definition don’t respond to reason. Very often, children don’t, either. Reason is something learned by exercising one’s thinking, and it takes many years. This is why we identify with super heroes at such young ages. In a way, we confer super hero attributes upon our parents, who can do no wrong and are all powerful. In a few years the monsters will fade and be no more, like Puff the Magic Dragon. Many of us can remember going to bed, and believing there is a monster hiding down below somewhere. If you are really afraid of the alligator off to the side of the bed, can you really be expected to act like a grown up? Reality is like a jigsaw puzzle, where the younger you are the more pieces of it still remain in a jumbled pile in the box.
For now it is enough to stay close to your loved ones, within the reach of the overhead light, or better yet, the sun. Don’t let mom and dad out of your sight until such time as you can give that old monster what for with your bare hands. Brother is there to help, and mom, too, if you need backup. Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite.