I couldn’t help noticing that most of the stories I have been reading my son at bedtime have featured bears, monsters, lions, foxes and other miscreant creatures. It’s been puzzling me for a while. Mainly at 3am when he is complaining of lions in his room and making me scare them away.

Why do we fill our children’s heads with such stuff?

And then, it dawned on me, as I sat in a tent fashioned out of a chair, a quilt, and the end of the bed, and hiding, as we were, from the lion. We teach our kids about monsters so that we can practice hiding from them. So they can be still and silent when they need to be.

In other places and times not so far from here, children hid, with terrified parents, from people. From monsters.

We tell our children stories to protect them.