One day when Jacob was about 5 years old, John and I got a babysitter. We were alone driving down the road, when we saw a man in a Barney suit ahead of us, crossing the road. He was obviously heading to some lucky child’s birthday party. Hoo-hoo!
John slowed down, smirked, and turned to me and said “That is one brave man to cross the street in front of us.”
We hated Barney. Jacob, at that age, loved him. He wanted to watch Barney all the time. Naturally we didn’t allow it, because really, who can handle that much Barney? We knew that too much Barney would damage our young son.
John and I we continued our day out, away from our son, with the Barney song, and thoughts of homicide, stuck in our heads. We were delighted.
We, like most parents, were relatively lucky, though. We could turn it off. We could say “no more Barney.” We could have banished Barney completely. We had control over the situation.
But this morning I read an article about someone who didn’t. Who couldn’t. Someone who was stuck, day after day, watching and listening to Barney. For TWELVE YEARS!
Today’s Washington Post has a wonderful article about Martin Pistorius, a South African man who fell into a coma at age 12. After several years, he began to emerge, but not in ways that let anybody know he was “there.”
His recovery began with Barney, the big purple dinosaur he was forced to watch on loop at the special care center where he spent his days, according to NPR.
…“I cannot even express to you how much I hated Barney” …
Pistorius decided he’d had enough and dedicated his thoughts to something that offered some modicum of control over his reality, such as telling time by tracking sunlight in a room.
As his mind improved and Pistorius learned to “reframe” and “reintepret” his “ugliest thoughts,” his health improved, too, according to NPR. By age, 26, he was able to use a computer to communicate, shocking his family.
I don’t want to give away all of it, but trust me: The article is fascinating. I think the book he wrote of his experience sounds like it is too.
It’s a wonderful story of revival. And, of course, proof, that when we hate Barney, we can achieve great things.
Please fall on your knees to me.
I could have added Barney video.