Why Respect the Blankie?

Among an infinite–okay, infinite minus the already-taken selection of names, why “Respect the Blankie?”

The idea for the “Blankie” title came more-or-less spontaneously, when I uttered the phrase while mock-chastising the dogs for having messed up my side of the bed (the other side belonging to my wife, not the dogs–although I don’t bother to disabuse the dogs of the notion that the bed is theirs, too.).  The blankie, after all, is very important to my tactile health–or is that the tactile component of my mental health?  Let’s just say I’m rather attached to that little satin strip along the edge of the blanket (and, no, I don’t mean that in a pervy way).  It helps me think–I think.

A quick Google search revealed that the only other reference to the specific phrase “Respect the Blankie” involved a photo on Tumblr or Imgur, or one of those other vowel-challenged sites (I would add a link here, but don’t want to imply that my site is in anyway endorsed by the photographer or the photographee–look it up if you want–like I said, it’s quick).  The Google search also turned up numerous parenting articles about when is the appropriate time to make children give up their security blankets and/or strategies for making one’s child give up his/her security blanket.  “Ah-ha!” I thought, “I’ve definitely found the name I want!”

‘But why would that be the deciding factor?’ you may ask.  And the answer is, because ‘you wouldn’t hit an instant shepherd,would you?’  (Dammit!!  Another Peanuts reference.  I’ll move on from these, I swear.  Or maybe I won’t anytime soon–I’ve got a lot of Peanuts-related stuff to work out).  At any rate, the notion that a search on that particular phrase would land on articles about making children stop being children was entirely too appealing.  Parents get caught up in the idea that they need to stop other people from thinking their kids are weirdos.  I had plenty of struggles around parenting my own weird, but wonderful, kid that centered on that same notion.  It’s incredibly difficult to get your kids aimed in the direction they really want to travel in–the one they choose for themselves–too easy to try to steer them (subtly or not) where you want them to go, or to give them too little direction so that they don’t feel they have any sense of where they’re going.  Letting them hold on to their blankie may give them the direction they need, or the option to hoist it like a sail, or tie it on like a cape, so they can change course mid-expedition, or mid-flight.

In the world of Peanuts, Linus carted his blanket around everywhere, and, for the most part, it never hindered his development.  On the contrary, it allowed him to be himself at all times and in all places.  He was a boy of conviction, but also a boy who could admit to his lapses in faith.  He could own up to his own fears while also helping alleviate the fears of others.  In short, while his older sister set up shop demanding nickels to dole out abuse, Linus just walked the earth, blanket in hand, distributing sage advice, able to call people on their negative qualities, while also demonstrating the power of love and consideration, embodying the desire to create a better world, and defending the weak (even when that included himself).

I don’t recall ever actually dragging my security blanket around all over the place (although I can’t claim definitively that I didn’t), but it did stay on my bed, and for a time ‘back at home,’ then back on the bed until it essentially crumbled to dust (perhaps more later on why it was there in the first place).  I’ll admit that in my daily life, I tilt toward Lucy-like scolding, and Charlie-Brown-like dread far too easily.  But the goal is to to be more Linus-like, and to allow others the same.  The real trick of security blankets is for those who have them to  recognize why they have them, how they are using them, if they need to throw them out, get a new one, or…whatever other solutions work out best.

Ideally, people will internalize the sense of security that a security blanket represents. But to think that we can actually be self-contained, that there will be no elements of security that we have to draw from outside ourselves is a mistake.  Respect the strength that comes from within, but also the strength that comes from the people and things around us.  Respect the blankie.

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