My daughter has a story book about a boy who wakes up one day and sees a little baby dragon in his room. It’s all rather harmless and when he tells his mother about it, she tells him to stop making stuff up and get dressed and come down for breakfast, using her repeated phrase, and the title of the book, “There’s no such thing as a dragon!”
The boy keeps telling the mum about the dragon, as little children love to do, as they exercise their imaginations. The mother, an adult, has had her imagination diminished by growing up and so keeps dismissing the boy. In time the dragon grows, and with every scene, gets bigger and bigger. The unspoken problem, the unacknowledged elephant or dragon in the room is feeding off the very denial of its existence.
Eventually the dragon gets so big the house becomes like the snail-shell on its back, and he fills every room of the house. In time, the problem becomes so obvious, even the imaginationless adults have to finally admit to the dragon’s existence. And so it is only when the dragon is acknowledged that the dragon as an imaginary construct or a metaphor-made-literal concept in the child’s mind, begins to diminish. When the adults begin to name the thing that is there, when they finally begin to enter the world of the child that sees what they do not, when the boy is listened to by the matter of fact and overly busy adults – only then does the dragon begin to shrink – at least a shrinkage down to something manageable and easier to deal with.
In every human relationship, dragons are always present and often at various degrees of size and menace. If ignored, it simply grows bigger, and becomes a bigger problem to overcome until the inevitable collapse of the roof that holds up the unreralistic worldview of the other person. Harmony can only be restored when this happens, and in the biblical worldview, this is about the integrity of relationships and the willingness to name the thing that needs naming. Every community and family experiences this, and every person can be the see-er or the denier of reality.
The truth is, we all have our dragons, and all the dragons need naming and/or slaying. Jesus said, “Unless you become like a little child, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus also slays the dragon that plagues humanity. This is the ultimate cosmic truth of this little children’s storybook.