Bear Hunt

It may seem a bit off topic but really not.  Whether an adoptee or a foster child, all children seem to bond with inanimate stuffed animals that seem very much alive to the child that loves them.  My daughter once had an enormous bear she named Mellisica.  My older son had a red fox that we once lost on the way home from a long journey.  We tried to replace it with an identical one but he was never deceived.  The youngest one had a white tiger he named Lazha.

In this time of physical distancing as children are no longer crowded into the schools a new effort to bring smiles and something more sweetly novel than the virus has begun.  Many people are putting teddy bears in their windows and families who go out to walk together (keeping their distance from other people) or get in their cars to drive around kept distant by the encompassing form of their metallic vehicle are playing a game with one another – a new way of connecting with the rest of the human race.

In 1989, Michael Rosen wrote a children’s book with the title “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”.  Our modern day version is a scavenger hunt or kind of I Spy activity for every who who is stuck at home, adults included.  In some neighborhoods, kids are in full safari outfits, binoculars included, to get into the role.  Some families have turned it into a safari instead of a bear hunt because you see other species of stuffed animals. Or some are putting bear prints on their sidewalks with chalk.

It is really heartwarming.  One can get quite emotional looking at all the pictures coming in from every corner of social media.  People are seeking to hang onto anything positive, even if it’s a stuffed animal in a window.

From a mental health standpoint, this is more than just a children’s game.  It is a way of communicating with other people while staying safe in isolation.  It is a silent visual message that families and individuals are sending to each other from their windows that says, “We’re all in this together. I’m experiencing what you’re experiencing.”

So, if your circumstances allow it (we no longer have any stuffed animals in our home having long ago given them away to the regional women and children’s shelter for protection from domestic abuse), do put something cute in your window and share a feeling of connection even though it isn’t currently possible to have direct physical contact with other people.

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