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Parenting Thoughts

Honing our Fears

Honing our Fears

By Pam Henderson

I made a quick exit from my twilight gardening last Sunday when a bat invited himself to dinner in my backyard. I’m deathly afraid of bats – chiroptophobia at its worse. It’s not the bats’ blood-sucking that scares me – because I believe that vampire bats are only in South America. Rather, I’m afraid that they’ll get stuck in my hair. As an impressionable 5-year old, the teenage girls in our neighborhood told me it was so. That event set my bat phobia into motion.

To overcome something like a peanut allergy, there is a belief that one should be exposed in small doses of peanuts. This exposure gradually increases until the immunity is built. It would seem that limited exposures to a phobia would be therapeutic in overcoming the fear, meaning that if I walked through the Australia Exhibit at Brookfield Zoo, where the bats are flying freely without any overhead netting to distance them from guests, I would become desensitized to bats. Not gonna happen in a million years. I cannot even touch the glass display where the bats hang upside while feasting on orange slices at Potawatomie Zoo. I would be more likely to arm wrestle a hungry alligator or pet a rabid coyote. Just seeing bats in a nature show on television makes my skin crawl. If a bat ever made his way into my home, I think I might have to move.

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Be a Role Model

Be a Role Model

By Pam Henderson

Recently, my family and I visited my husband’s homeland in Bavaria, Germany. This southern German state is so picturesque that even when looking at it in person, it looks like it could only be a postcard. The villages are mostly as they were hundreds of years ago: churches with magnificent ceiling paintings telling sacred stories, hand-decorated maypoles, concrete homes with red geranium flower boxes dressing the windows and cobblestone walkways and plazas dotted with vendors selling fresh cheese, sausage and handcrafted items. Even in the small Alpine villages, the city plazas are bustling with activity. Germans walk everywhere.

An element of German life that my husband’s ancestors wouldn’t recognize is the busy intersections. While it was once horses and buggies that were scurrying through the narrow streets and alleyways, the roads are now filled with pedestrians, bicycles and tiny European cars.   

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