Today I was visiting a friend with my 5 year old. Its a farm, with chickens roaming around, laying magnificent eggs of the truly free ranging variety. We wandered through them as we made our way to the lamb that is being bottle fed. My daughter panicked. Screamed. Called out to me to carry her, because the chickens “are going to peck me mum!” The fear she had was real. My calm voice tried to speak truth to her fears. I asked her if she had ever been pecked by a chicken before (no, she hasn’t), and why she thought the chicken would peck her, when she had never been pecked by a chicken before? The fear was so great in her, but the lesson was equally for me. I held her…

A couple hours later, as we sat in the safety of home I asked her why she was afraid of the chickens pecking her.It was a simple answer from a young child… “I don’t like them. I like our chickens, but I don’t like those chickens.”

My teenage son had this explaination…”because that evil chicken pecked me once”

Fear of unfamiliar situations. Fear of something bad happening even when we ourselves have never experienced this…because one day one chicken pecked such and such, and so all unknown chickens must be held away ‘just in case’…

Sounds very familiar in the conversations surrounding asylum seekers…

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