One night last week Emma came into my room upset about a bad dream she'd had. We talked about it for a bit and she decided to watch a movie instead of going back to sleep and she later fell asleep on the couch. The next night as we were getting everyone into bed Emma started crying. She didn't want to go to sleep. She was scared that she would have a bad dream. We ended up having a very interesting discussion.
Every night during our family prayers my girls make a point to pray for good dreams. We discussed bad dreams when they were very small and how they could ask Heavenly Father to help them sleep good without having any bad dreams. A lot of times this helped them. Emma said she had prayed for good dreams and help sleeping and it didn't work. She was confused about why her prayers weren't working. I explained to her that almost everything that happens to us in life gives us the opportunity to learn something. Sometimes Heavenly Father allows them to happen so that we can have that learning experience. I asked her what she thought she could learn from the bad dream she'd had the previous night. Together we came up with a few ideas. We decided our dreams could teach us what's real and what's not real, what is important and what is not important, what is good and what is bad, and how we can react in a situation that might be scary. I'm sure there are other things our dreams might teach us, but that was our list.
This seemed to make sense to her and she seemed a bit calmer, but she still did not want to go to bed. She was still scared of her dreams. Then and idea popped into my head. I told her to think of her dreams like they were a movie or a book...an interesting story that she could watch in her sleep. Doesn't that sound fun? Sure, some movies are scary. She thinks Harry Potter is scary, but she still likes to watch it because it's a good story and it's interesting. I told her that her dreams could be like Harry Potter. She could pay attention to the story, and maybe she'd be scared for a minute...but she would know it's not real and that it's part of an interesting story.
This brought us to the idea of making a dream journal. I told Emma that she could look forward to her dreams, good or bad, she could watch and enjoy the 'movie' in her sleep. Then when she woke up she could write her dreams down in a dream journal and turn them into stories that she could share with other people. We talked about Twilight (one of my favorites), and how the author came up with the story and characters in a dream, then she wrote it down and turned it into books. Emma thought that was pretty cool, and the idea of keeping a dream journal became exciting to her. She went to bed after that without any problems. The next morning I asked her if she'd had any dreams, and she hadn't. She actually seemed disappointed. But over the next couple of days she started her day by writing her dreams down.
This morning I woke up from a very strange and vivid dream. I decided to write it down before I forgot it. It really seemed like something that could make a good book one day. Maybe one day I'll pretend I am talented enough and have a good enough imagination to fill in the blanks and I will try to make it into a real story. Who knows...Emma came into my room as I was writing. She had just finished writing down her dream and so we sat together on my bed and read our dream stories to each other. It was a really sweet moment, and I love hearing the things that go through her mind! She is a funny little girl! She is also very smart and very observant.
I think the dream journal was a good idea. I'm sure we will have many entertaining mornings going over the stories that serenade us in our sleep.
(*By the way, Emma's dream last night had to do with an old lady riding down the street in one of those motorized shopping carts looking for Coke and waffles! Hahahaha! It made me laugh!)