The Wellbeing Stories are aimed at the 9-13 age group and each deals with a relevant issue in their lives. Based on resilience research and combining positive and narrative psychology, the wellbeing stories offer teachers and parents an opportunity to raise issues with young people in a safe and fun way. They show that some ways of thinking are helpful and others get in the way of wellbeing.
Dana and the Doom Merchant is about change, loss and transition, what helps and what doesn’t. Many of us like what we know and want things to stay more or less the same. It is comforting when life is predictable.
For everyone though, and especially for growing children, change is part of life. Some of this is exciting as we look forward to new things but sometimes changes give rise to anxiety about what will happen. It can be scary when we don’t know what to expect.
Having people around in times of change and transition is helpful. A support network can make all the difference to how well you cope with a new situation.
So, in the story, it isn’t surprising that Dana is distressed when she finds that yet again she is going to have to struggle to settle into a new school all alone. Moving schools can be a time of anxiety for some young people and even more so if they fear they will be dealing with strange new situations alone.
The Doom Merchant represents the voice in Dana’s head that tells her that things will be bad and voices the fear that it will never get better and she will always be alone and miserable. This is a reasonable fear but needs to be balanced with a more optimistic outlook that seeks and celebrates fresh opportunities and promotes confidence. In this story ZIP is the voice that presents this alternative scenario.
Dana has a history of successfully moving schools but now she is distraught because she is going to a different high school from her friends. This gives the Doom Merchant an opportunity to seed thoughts that things will never be good again. ZIP comes along and points out that the Doom Merchant is a fraud who takes away optimism and hope. Dana tells this story from the point of view of now being in High School where things have turned out OK.