How Can We Help Our Children Feel Safe? May 18 2020

The situation we are all in right now stimulates fear in a way never experienced before in our lifetime. It’s an irony of our current time that great fear suppresses our immune systems. Children are so sensitive to our inner mood and our inner thoughts!  For their sakes, as parents and teachers, we need to use the propagation of fear to practice greater and greater calm and courage on their behalf. We might be able to do it better for them than we might if only for ourselves. To be alive is a wonderful thing, whatever the circumstances. To be loved is part of the glory of it and we do love our children.

Previously in our writing, we mentioned the importance of regular rhythm (meals and bedtimes the same time each day, for example) and rituals (lighting candles at mealtime, reading a story aloud each night, brushing teeth, are all ritual-like practices) to help children feel reassured. A prayer before sleeping is very helpful to children to remember how safe they are and that they will wake up in the morning.  Here’s a little prayer Rudolf Steiner gave for children — imagine how important this must have been in Germany during WWI — that involves all the good things of our lives, as well as invoking a casting away of fear.

From my head to my feet
I am the image of God.
From my heart to my hands
I feel the breath of God.
When I speak with my mouth
I follow God’s will.
When I behold God everywhere,
In mother, in father,
In all dear people,
In beast and flower,
In tree and stone,
Nothing brings fear,
But love to all that is around me.

Try it, if you do not already have a prayer of your own. If God doesn’t fit well with your picture of the world, you might consider using the words “goodness” or “love,” as a substitute. The prayer still works, then! You might find it to be an enormously reassuring practice to help your little one(s) to sleep well and to have sweet dreams. A Mexican grandmother I know used to kiss her grandchildren good night and say, Dormir con los angelitos! —“Sleep with the little angels!”  May you, too!