Wednesday, February 28, 2007

August 24, 2000 - Egypt, Sensitive Issues

I read your message to the group and have been watching to see the responses of others on this sensitive issue.

Can I just say to everyone right here and now that in writing this book I tried to be EXTREMELY CAREFUL in what to include and what NOT to include. You will note that there are no experiments or activities in the body of my book regarding any mummies or anything that gave me a "creepy" feeling (such as "make your own coffin" kinds of things). These "riskier" topics are offered in the optional projects sections, along with books on mummies - which are listed separately from the "Egypt" books, so that parents can decide on their own what they are comfortable for their children to see. The majority of children love this disgusting stuff and are completely fascinated by it - others are much more sensitive.

I think we all agree that we need to be very careful in what we place before our children's eyes, but I realize we can take this too far as well. My personal feeling is that if we must err, let it be on the side of overprotection. If she were my daughter, I would NOT include her in on anything that has to do with mummies any more. If she is already terrorized by the pictures, I don't think she should see any more or even hear about them. She is only in first grade and she does not have to be involved in this part of the unit study other than to see how children lived long ago in ancient Egypt. I would really immerse her in the desert project and I would have your other kids do as much silent independent reading as possible about Egypt. Bring her in on anything that is non-threatening to her. Maybe you can do some things at night with the other kids while your husband is home to entertain your first grader with desert books, etc.

I agree that it is important to face our fears, but it is also our job to guard the hearts of our children and I think you have done your best to help her overcome her fear. Mummies ARE gruesome and I don't think trying to make them "user-friendly" to her is going to work.

Remember, children think irrationally about these things because their fears are so real to them. If it comes up again accidentally, I would remind her that it WAS gruesome - and it was also very sad to see what people did when they didn't have the love of Jesus in their hearts. I would stress how glad we are that we know we will live in heaven someday with Him and that everything there will be beautiful and happy, and that here on Earth, Jesus wants us to be happy too - that means turning our fears over to Him. Pray together and leave it alone until it comes up again, at which time you should repeat the very same thing. By reassuring her time after time, she will eventually take comfort in the words that whe knows you will repeat again to her. She needs to be verbally reassured by you right now more than ever. Even if it means that she doesn't listen in on The Golden Goblet - that's ok - although I don't think there's any scary mummy parts in it.

Maybe you could get her redirected in some kind of project on the story of Joseph instead, like making clay models of him and his brothers, or making his coat out of a large white paper shopping bag and having her color it with the many colors. How about letting her do a little study of her own on a related topic, like on rivers (to go with the Nile theme). This would be special just for her. If you start thinking about it I think you will be able to come up with something that is related that will interest her without scaring her to death. Certainly, no good can come of that. I would also talk earnestly and pray with your other kids about her sensitivity and ask for their help. Sometimes older siblings take great delight in teasing younger siblings about their insecurities. Ask them to help you protect her in this endeavor. Get them in on a little secret and add a little pun: "MUM'S the word!" Work quietly together to help her through this.

The unfortunate thing about studying ancient civilizations is seeing some of the strange, and often wicked, things they did. We have two choices:

(1.) We can never study them and have our kids walking around with "blinders" on, or
(2.) We can study them with sensitivity right alongside of the word of God and learn about other cultures with one main focus - that we ALL need Jesus and - without Him our world is in total chaos!

Just my opinion, but since I sort of "got you into this" I thought I'd offer a way out as well. If she is sensitive to this, she may also get the creeps about other things in future units of other ancient civilizations. You will really need to pray for godly discretion and wisdom, and be extra sensitive to things that might disturb her. On the other hand, she just might surprise you and have no troubles down the road. It might just be the "mummy thing" and . . . I must admit, I can hardly look at some of these books on a dark and stormy night myself! Try not to be too hard on yourself about it and keep everything in perspective. The rest of the kids really love the study, so let them continue having fun. I know you will be able to come up with something she will really like that will fit into this unit.

Please let me know how this situation progresses.


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