There’s a serious problem with children who see spirits. But here’s a hint: the trouble with children who see spirits… isn’t the children.
Around us all the time is a reality that is largely unseen, but not unnoticed. It’s the spirit realm, or the spiritual world, or the unseen realm, whatever you want to call it. Do not think of it as another dimension, but just a reality that is layered onto our physical world that most of us cannot see with our eyes.
A surprising number of people can actually see it, to varying levels. And amazingly, many children can see it as well.
Actually, I suspect many more children than adults can see things in the spirit world. A question I often receive is, why do so many children seem to see spirits and apparitions and demons and angels and ghosts and spiritual objects and even animals, but adults cannot?
Well, the answer is pretty simple: they haven’t learned to color in the lines yet.
“Color in the Lines!”
When very young children are given paper and crayons, they begin to create art. This is natural! God made humans as God’s representatives on the planet to do God’s work, and God created. So naturally, you give God’s imagers crayons, they’ll create art.
Sometimes on the wall… or on themselves.
But hopefully on paper you provide.
Give a child blank paper and they’ll have no problem creating things.
Give them a paper with lines to color in, and they’ll disregard the lines… until you teach them to conform to how big people see the world.
Eventually, they won’t see the space outside the lines.
But that space outside the lines is still there.
There’s No Such Thing as Spirits… really?
Very young children will tell you what they see.
“Who’s that man?” a young girl may ask, while pointing out the door at nothing. Or “What’s that?” the young boy may squeal in terror, pointing to the empty corner.
And we adults say, “There’s nothing there. Nothing at all.”
And the child looks at you like you’re insane.
I once took our young daughter who could see spirits on a Disney World Snow White ride.
Big mistake. I should have known better.
When she saw spirits, she was seeing things that weren’t as corporeal as the physical world.
But on the Disney ride, with its glowing eyes and terrifying figures, what she normally saw in the spirit was suddenly quite physical.
And she screamed and cried and hid her eyes, terrified, trying to get out of the ride, away from what she saw, and I held her trembling in my arms, while berating myself for being an idiot.
There are No Monsters in the Closet… really?
When my wife and I get our kids to bed, we usually have a sigh of relief. Finally. Some time away from the little ones. A few moments of peace.
I imagine we’re not unique in this. And so it can be annoying when a little child gets up for a glass of water or to go potty or because…
Something’s in the closet. Or under the bed. Or outside the window…
As adults, our responses vary.
Sometimes we yell. Sometimes we threaten. Sometimes we dismiss what they say.
“There are no such things as monsters! There’s nothing in the closet. Great Aunt Mary is NOT visiting you! GO TO BED! ONE…. TWO…. THREE! DO YOU WANT A SPANKING?”
Why are we adults so stupid?
Our child, who does not normally lie, who is not normally fearful, who is generally obedient… comes out scared, and we suddenly think the child suddenly transformed into defiant little liar who sees things?
What if the child is telling the truth?
A suicidal teenager reports to the therapist he sees apparitions, and the therapist records in the notes, “He’s hallucinating.”
This assumes that the child’s brain is incorrectly interpreting the world around him.
But what if the teenager is telling the truth, and the therapist is hallucinating?
What if the therapist’s worldview is inaccurate and therefore the conclusions the therapist arrives at are incorrect?
The main problem with us adults dealing with the teenager seeing spirits is simply… he hasn’t learned to color in the lines. Obviously, he should realize that in our society you can’t publicly admit that there are spirits that some people can see. That’s crazy talk.
Despite the testimony of numerous seers over thousands of years of recorded history in countless societies, the established dogma is, “There are no monsters in the dark.”
I personally have testimonies from hundreds – and I do mean hundreds – of people who say they can see spirits, and many have seen them since childhood. Are they all hallucinating?
Or are those of us who say there are no such things as monsters incorrect?
The Problem is Us. The Adults.
We adults are the problem. We generally don’t have a way to think about the world that is accurate. And so we force our inaccurate worldview onto children who see spirits, making them believe they must be crazy to see the monster in the closet that comes and terrifies them at night, sometimes climbing on them, sometimes paralyzing them in fear.
Children experience cognitive dissonance when their parents tell them something they know must not be true.
They can’t help it. Developmentally, children believe their parents must be telling the truth. If a parent says their child is a bad boy for spilling the milk carelessly, it must be true. Even if the parent doesn’t really mean it. If a parent says the child is a worthless piece of shit, then it must be the truth… at least to the child.
(But not to God. That child, who is the image of God, was worth Jesus dying for. Maybe adults should treat their children like that instead… even when they whine.).
If the parent says there is no monster in the closet, and the child can actually see it, well… you tell me who the problem is.
It’s Time to Think Differently About the World
Adults, it’s time to go to back to school. It’s time to retrain your mind to think differently about the world. It’s time to embrace the reality that there is an unseen realm interacting in real ways with the physical world, and many children can see it.
A good first step would be to begin thinking like Jesus did about the unseen world and how to live in the physical one.