Several years ago, I made one of those foolish Dad choices. Despite my wife’s better judgment, I let my six- and seven-year-old sons watch Men in Black. What I thought would be a cool evening of fighting aliens turned into one of those nights ending with two kids afraid of going to sleep under a wife’s “I told you so” glare.
Miraculously, I stumbled onto a solution when my elder son came into our bedroom around midnight saying he kept waking up scared because he was afraid a giant bugman would get him. In the moment, a solution arose. I told my son that I kept special, super strong anti-bugman powder in the bathroom, so strong it could only be used in emergencies, but that it could keep bug monsters out of the house. With that, I went into the bathroom, filled a small plastic bag with talcum powder, and spent the next thirty minutes walking around the house throwing the powder about the place while chanting “Go away bugmen!” with my son. He slept the rest of the night.
The point of the story is not about showing myself to be a good parent (I abandoned any pretense to that title when I said to my wife, “The boys might be scared at first, but by the end they’ll be laughing”). What this incident demonstrates is a kind of teaching technique that too often is underutilized or even forgotten.…Read More