“A red light is scarier than being 3’6” and running blindly in a dark parking lot.”

January 24, 2014

Notable Stats

Fear Weighted Average (FWA) – The ratio between the degree of fear of something possible to something impossible. A low number means your child may actually be a hamster.

Morph Shock Value (MSV) – The time that it takes for something completely innocuous to turn into a vicious and deadly poisonous gigantic spider. Measured in hours of sleep lost by the child’s caretakers.

The other night, our son’s Legos turned against him. It was only a matter of time given our son’s discomfort once the sun goes down. I was hopeful that the Lego characters would be spared having their good name sullied, given they are one inch tall plastic toys that have smiles on their faces that they cannot change unless you rotate their heads 180 degrees.

In the end, the now multi-platform, multi-media sensation of Legos has added movies, TV, and computer options to bring these characters to life. They are no longer just connecting blocks, but vibrant animated actors that make you laugh and can apparently scare you half to death. I get it, they have added a good versus evil dynamic to many of their new products with intimidating character names like Pythor, Spitta, Garmaddon, and Razor.

So, our son decided it was time to protect himself. After wishing him a good night, I went upstairs and when I came back down I saw a graveyard of Lego people. Not only were they scattered about haplessly, they were dismembered.

Upon questioning my son, he declared that the bad Legos may come to life and do something bad, so he banished them from his room; and, if that was not enough given they cannot walk back on their own power, he took them apart. Arms, legs, head, hands.

Well, he is only five, and fear and parenting go hand and hand. Whether it is your trying to keep them safe, or their trying to comprehend the unlikely event that a Lego band of brothers could execute a coup d’état on the sovereign state of a five-year-old.

What is tough as a parent is trying to help our children distinguish healthy fear and irrational fear. To do so, we have to impart our own biases into the equation, which probably is not really fair. So maybe you stand back at times to let them figure it out on their own, hoping that in a few years, he will understand that Legos wish him no ill-will.
Of course, as we found out a month ago, there are times when you have to interject upon the fear assessment skills of your children. One evening our son was dangerously running to our car in the parking lot which was a long ways away. To get to our car (minivan), he would have to run behind a full lot of vehicles, the drivers of which would have trouble seeing him.

Upon our obligatory threats and yells to get him to walk and hold someone’s hand, he stops abruptly in his tracks to declare a red light in the sky to be the eye of a “Cyclops.” That scared him to immobility (our warnings did not), afraid to make another move for fear of being liquidated by the laser eye of this harmless radio tower.

Apparently, the very real possibility of being hit by a car is not as disturbing as a radio tower transmitting a commercial for reverse mortgages.
Nevertheless, we have to work with the fears and concerns of our children. It sets the tone for their future and we know as parents, fear doesn’t really go anywhere as adult, it just gets displaced and buried, and revamped. So although I do not believe in red-eyed cycloptic monsters lurking over an ice rink in New Hampshire with penchants for five year old Lego-fearing boys, I do know life’s stakes do go up with age and once in a while our kids remind us that it can be a luxury to have fears we can target, even if the crosshairs rest on a one-eyed radio host or some Legos that will ultimately bring assault charges on you.

- Doug Glanville

Blog Category: 


Motivational Speaker

Click here to learn more about having Doug speak at your next event!




The Daddy Games

Check out Doug's blog, The Daddy Games.  Click here to read more.