It’s August. I can almost hear all you parents: “It’s time for the kids to go back to school! Yay!” I’m moving classrooms this year, so I’ve already been planning for the new school year for a while. I’ve been teaching Kindergarten for 18 years and have learned there’s an art to setting up a room. Quiet area over here, table toys next to tables, no areas that could be misconstrued as racing areas, etc.etc.
But Kelly, you ask, what does that have to do with the paranormal? Well, almost every time Co-director Don and I do a presentation someone will ask if we think children are most sensitive to the paranormal. My answer is maybe…but maybe not.
While brainstorming what to write in this blog, I was watching John Edward’s Evolve series online. Day 69 of the series was about “instinct”. During this, John makes mention of how children are still innocent and have not yet been beaten down by the adults in their life telling them what’s real and what’s not. He says sometimes children’s childhood imaginary friends could be part of what he calls their spirit team. Interesting theory, and very plausible I (and a lot of other people) think.
However, I mentioned I’ve been teaching Kindergarten 18 years, right? What I know is that the goal of most children is to please the important adults in their life. I can say “I like how Jack’s sitting” and watch every child in my class snap to criss-cross applesauce or “Thanks, Jill, for getting your pencil so quickly” and see kids break warp speed to get a pencil from their basket. I’ve had kids tell me “that boy said the bad ‘s’ word” and when I ask them to whisper in my ear what that word is, they whisper “stupid”. Up to a certain age, children ARE innocent. They don’t get sarcasm, innuendo, or double entendre. They believe that the things the meaningful adults in their life say are as true and real as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny…
So, my thought is, if children believe everything adults tell them, such as “your friend is not real, it’s all in your imagination” couldn’t the reverse be true? I believe with all the media surrounding the supernatural, some people jump too quickly to a paranormal conclusion. Example: a little boy tells his parents that a new friend named Johnny played with him outside. The parents know there is no child named Johnny in the neighborhood. For every parent who dismisses their child with having an imaginary friend, there is a parent who decides their child was seeing a ghost and starts drilling him with questions. The child with the dismissive parents doesn’t talk about his friend anymore because it doesn’t seem to please his parents. The child with the jumps-to-conclusion parents thinks “Oh, boy! Look at all the attention I’m getting from Mom and Dad!” and continues talking about (and possibly making things up/exaggerating about) his new friend because it does seem to please his parents.
So what to do? You, dear reader, probably believe in the paranormal or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. I don’t think you’d take the dismissive route. Therefore, I would suggest asking non-leading questions to a child who is experiencing an imaginary friend or any other possible brush with the paranormal. For example, “what was Johnny wearing?” not “was Johnny wearing a suit?” while thinking about a child you know that was buried in a suit. If it happens again, ask “what was he wearing this time?” If the new friend changes clothes, it is probably not a spirit (my theory). If you still feel you have a paranormal phenomenon on your hands, educate yourself. Read biographies of famous psychics such as Chip Coffey’s Growing Up Psychic. Or check out not-as-famous-yet psychics such as Travis Sanders. Travis grew up in a small town and was on Chip’s series Psychic Kids. Learning about others’ experiences could help guide you with your own.