Random inspiration


I’ve read of people trying the inspirational potential of opening a book of scripture and pointing at a random verse to see what can be learned. It turns out that scanning the shelves of a bookstore or a library and cracking open a random book can yield interesting results as well. I wish they were always this unexpected.

From a book with an appealing little blond kid on the cover, pulled from the psychology section,* we find this line, heading a list:

  1. Have your child stand. She can hold either the rag doll or the spaghetti. Stand near her.

Clearly there’s some backstory here. A quick scan of the previous few paragraphs gets you neither info about the rag doll nor the spaghetti, and it feels like knowing all the context would spoil it a little, doesn’t it? You just want the rag doll and the spaghetti to be all there is, one of them in the hand of your child, with you standing by her. But you also want to know what’s going on.

As it happens, both the doll and the spaghetti can help a child who is experiencing anxiety to be reminded of the goal–relax, be limp like a noodle, breathe deeply. We’re going to get through this.

I can imagine that it would be easy to have a rag doll on hand for times when a child is feeling all wound up. But how likely is it that you’ll have instant access to therapeutic pasta? Even the quick-cook kind takes 3 minutes, and that’s after the water has boiled.

Perhaps this isn’t meant as the thing to reach for in the heat of the moment, but instead is part of developing certain skills during calm times that can then be called upon during panicked ones. So you’d have time to boil a pot of noodles and then have a relaxation practice. At least that’s what I’m assuming. To know for sure, I’d have to read more than a paragraph, but that’s not how this works. I’m already off to crack open my next random book.


Raggedy Ann & Andy

*Overcoming School Anxiety by Diane Peters Mayer. Props to el Guapo, who opened the book and called my attention to that intriguing line.

[images: publicdomainpictures.net, wikipedia]

3 thoughts on “Random inspiration

  1. I enjoyed this post. There is a controlled breathing pattern I have practiced often during calm times that I use during stressful times to recenter. I recently shared this breathing exercise with my 6 – year-old to help her “calm down” at bedtime. I was delighted when she used it on her own a few nights later. “Daddy,” she said, “remember that breathing you showed me? I’m doing it now to calm down for bed.” I love these ideas we can share with our posterity!

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