He’s standing by the school wall.
It’s his turn to be the wolf.
This game is the latest craze and it goes like this:
He’s got his back to us. We can’t see his face but he’s ‘the big, bad wolf’ and he’s soooo scary. We imagine his hairy, angry face and his sharp teeth.
We wait at the other end of the playground. A large group of six-year olds, giggling and laughing, slightly nervous. No-one wants to make the first move. Then…together… we chorus: ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf?’
Still with his back to us he growls, ‘7 o’clock!’
We creep, just a few steps towards the ‘wolf’.
We ask again, ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’ and we wait, fingers crossed.
‘9 o’clock!’ comes the threatening answer.
We creep a bit further. We feel a bit braver. Some of us creep up closer than others. Some of us aren’t quite ready to go too close.
‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’ we shout, pretending to be very brave.
‘Dinner time!’ he roars and turns around.He chases, we scream, we run and run, until one of us reaches the wall without getting caught and eaten.
Everyone laughs with relief, leaving the wolf of our imagination behind, happy that we escaped. And what about the one who reached the wall? He beams proudly as he takes his place as the ‘wolf’ and the game begins again.
Fear is a strange emotion.
Why are horror films so successful? Some people enjoy being afraid in a ‘safe’ environment, just like we did in the safety of the playground.
What about the extreme fairground rides? Again, it’s a short lived fear and in a safe environment.
And the ghost train?
This is what I learnt from making friends with a Wolf –
1. The playground wolf was as scary as we imagined him to be.
When we’re afraid, it’s very easy to let our imagination lead us where we’d rather not go.
2. The playground game won’t work if you don’t have the strength of the group around you.
When our fear in a group, we feel stronger. With support our fear shrinks.
3. The wolf’s growl reinforces our fear.
Fear flutters as we allow ourselves to think about it.
4. We creep towards the wolf.
We take tiny steps to deal with the fear.
5. We creep, but some of us creep faster than others.
When we deal with our fear, we must go at our own pace.
6. We hear the wolf’s voice again.
The threat is still there.
7. We creep even closer, feeling just a bit braver.
Our belief in our ability to face this is growing.
8. Some of us are ‘acting as if’ we’re not afraid.
We whisper to ourselves, ‘Yes! I can do this!’ putting on our bravest face.
9. He turns around.
We face the fear and, you’ve guessed it! It’s not so scary after all.
10. Relief all round!
When the ‘wolf’ finally faced us, we were ready and he didn’t look so scary…
You know you want to… and wolves aren’t scary at all… are they?
‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf!’
Do share your battle with fear.
What frightens you at the moment?