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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


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That's interesting because I was kind of like that (rabies, blood clots and going to hell were my pet phobias). But I, and I'm sure Olle will be similar, went on to tackle the world in a much wider, more imaginative and more inquisitive way than most of my schoolmates. I reckon that fear is not two-dimensional, like on a scale from scared to brave, but three-dimensional with everyone having their strengths and weaknesses in different spots.

I was always led to believe that a "sensitive child" was teacher-code for one who wasn't obviously an idiot. Olle sounds like he actually reflects the usual meaning of the word.
I've got to say I recall existential terror as part of childhood; but then I grew up in the peculiar Reagan years of arms races and Palm Sunday marches. It shouldn't cheer me that early-life melancholy is universal, but sadly, shamefully, it does. Sorry.
Give that young man some compulsory screenings of Dr. Strangelove, The Day After, and On The Beach. Oh, and of course he'll require copies of War of the Worlds, and Day of the Triffids. Better to worry about the end of the world than schoolwork.

Evan is quite like this in many ways - I can imagine having a similar incident on the beach, for example. I must confess that I often find it hard to be patient with him in these kinds of situations. I hope I'm slowly getting better at: (a) keeping my patience; (b) not thinking that his behaviour is all due to over-protective parenting on my part; and (c) treasuring his quirkiness in all its aspects!

I loved your description of looking out your suburban window. I am usually too tired to post comments at the moment, but couldn't resist this, as I shared an almost identical childhood experience!!! I can see the streetscape as if it were yesterday, and remember just the kind of feeling it inspired. The funny thing was that I got a wonderful kind of thrill out of that "vastness of the world" realisation that you described so well; to the point that I only let myself look out of my bedroom window at night as a special treat, for fear the awe-inspiring feeling would wear off!!!!

It's great when we can remember these glimmers of how we saw the world as children...it makes our own kids seem more comprehensible and less eccentric, I think!

Ooooh. And force him to spend time at Exit Mundi.

The year master labelled me as 'sensitive' in high school.My first report card said I needed 'prodding'. I'm still not sure what that means.

I got an indentation on my leg after a spider bit me during orientation in the Fox Valley and was convinced I was going to die. My mother gave me a book called _What Spider is That?_ I'm still not sure about some of her parenting techniques.

Love your description of the vastness of the world.

(Btw, I've played another move at scrab.)

David I like your idea of three-dimensional fear - that makes a lot of sense. Eg, O is a Star Wars fan and a Robin Hood fan - he likes battles and sword play. It's more realistic threats and dilemmas which frighten him. He wouldn't be able to take Exit Mundi I'm afraid Liam - thinking about global warming brings him to tears.

He sounds delightful - hard for him now, but what a gorgeous young man he will make.

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