Proyecto Visión 21

“Don’t move!” I yelled. And he didn’t move.

Francisco Miraval

“Don’t move,” I yelled to my son and, to my surprise, he didn’t move. In that way, it was easy to remove from his back a spider that was slowly climbing in the direction of my son’s neck.

Just a few minutes before, my son had helped me to cut a few branches from a tree in front of the house and then we went inside to drink some water. When he turned around, I saw the spider (that probably fell from one of the branches) and therefore I yelled my son not to move.

I thought he will assume that, as in so many other occasions, I was making a joke. I thought he would just laugh to celebrate my joke and he will keep drinking his water. In my mind, I image I would be unable to stop the spider from reaching my son’s neck and then the spider will grow bigger and bigger and transform itself into a vampire spider. Of course, nothing happened.

My son didn’t move. I removed the spider (a rather large spider, by the way) and everything was over in a couple of seconds. But I still wanted to know why, knowing that I could be potentially joking, my son decided to obey my command. I thought it had to do with the seriousness and urgency in the tone of my voice, but I was wrong.

My son told me he obeyed me because of a lesson he learned two years ago when he was part of a volunteer group working in a forest in southern Colorado. One of the team leaders told the group that, because of the location and the task to be done, it was possible to insects to fall on people. If that were to happen, somebody should ask the person with the insect not to move, so the insect could be removed.

The instructor also said that in many cases the “insect” will not be a real insect, but perhaps just a leaf or a twig. In other cases, there will be a real insect in somebody’s back. So, the instructor said, it was better to say something and be wrong than to remain silent and then discover a real insect. And in all cases it was better to obey the “Don’t move” command.

I was happy to see that my son has learned such a valuable and practical lesson and that he applied the lesson without hesitation precisely when he needed. Then I asked myself what else I should be doing to alert my son about other potential dangers (bigger than and not as innocent as a spider) that may be also crawling up his back and he doesn’t know it.

The “spiders” of addiction to technology, pessimism, and narcissism, among other dangers, are also crawling up the backs of our youth, getting closer and closer to their minds and hearts. Will they listen if we ask them not to move so we can help them? Perhaps.

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