It happens every week. We go to church, and sometime between checking our kids in and saying goodbye, our younger boy crosses his arms and refuses to enter his class while the older boy runs gleefully to his classroom.
No matter what parenting playbook we pick up, nearly every week is a repeat of determined refusal, tears, whines, patient talking, hugging, bribing, and finally shoving our kid in the room and running away as fast as possible. The crazy thing is that he snaps out of it within a few minutes and is also running gleefully through his class, and by then my husband and I are a mess of nerves.
Then one week, something happened.
Just before leaving home, our boy tugged on a camouflage head cover, a pair of sunglasses, and a baseball cap and declared, “I’m FLAMES THE NINJA!”
He wore Flames the Ninja in the car, and asked if Flames the Ninja could go to church. ”Sure,” we said, both because we’d agree with anything at this point and also because at our church, anything goes.
In walked Flames the Ninja with swagger! He demanded that the printed tag with his given name be hidden under his shirt. “Daddy, will you write Flames the Ninja on a name tag?” ”Sure.” Of course! Anything!
Flames the Ninja walked right into his classroom with bravery and strong high fives to all of his teachers. They called him Flames the Ninja all morning. He was a hit.
Three weeks later, Flames the Ninja doesn’t come to church anymore, but the made-up superhero helped our boy know that he can walk through that door and be strong about it. Maybe it was an internal struggle where something shifted from baby to big boy, and Flames provided the cover to make that transition. Maybe God gave him a superhero and a morning’s worth of super power. Whatever it was, we’re proud of our boy for doing it and so, so grateful that it happened.
Boom! Pow! Shazam! Flash the Ninja!
Has anyone else’s kid created his or her own cure for a fear or problem? I’d love to hear about it!