Rhapsody’s sunburn

My daughter asked to watch The Fairies (distributed through ABC for Kids) this morning and as we ate our breakfast I watched as Harmony and Rhapsody visited their friend Bubbles the Beach Fairy on Fairy Beach.

Rhapsody was worried that their fairy dresses weren’t appropriate for playing on the beach, but luckily Bubbles did a Special Magic Fairy Spell to bring them Fun and Funky Beach Clothes. However, they did come with a warning: Bubbles implored Rhapsody to be sun-safe and put on her sun hat and sunscreen or she’d get sunburned.

Rhapsody’s response was, “But the sun’s perfectly safe Bubbles.” And she ignored Bubbles and did surfing and dancing and sandcastle-building all day, despite repeated imploring by Bubbles.

When Harmony and Rhapsody got back to Fairyland, Rhapsody discovered her sunburn and learned her lesson about sun safety — even more poignant because, as Harmony says, fairy magic doesn’t work on sunburn.

But why didn’t Rhapsody listen to Bubbles’ good advice? After all, Bubbles lives on fairy beach and Rhapsody should have realised she should therefore be an authority on sun safety.

I have a feeling that Rhapsody just wasn’t ready to listen. Until she felt the consequences of her actions herself, she just wasn’t able to see the danger she was in. The concept of needing to protect herself from the sun just didn’t fit with her concept of the good and beautiful sun.

It put me in mind of our students: every year we moan about them just not getting it, and just not listening to our advice about study. Perhaps they’re like Rhapsody and just aren’t ready to listen yet. They usually learn their lesson later, when they see how their experience matches with our good advice.

Perhaps we need to let our students have some of the responsibility for their own learning. Perhaps they need to get a little sunburn in order to learn sun safety.

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