Children have a keen understanding of the world. They notice thing, and they are not afraid to draw attention to them. Sometimes this is refreshing. Other times it is terrifying.

For instance, my son walked up while I was reading something online and he happened to see an advertisement for a new movie about a Scary Clown.

He pointed over my shoulder at the screen. “I don’t like that. That’s really creepy.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t like that either,” I said and quickly scrolled away. But then I thought about it some more and scrolled back. “Gideon. This is not real, you know. It’s just a regular person wearing make up and pretending. Here. I’ll show you.” And I did a quick search to show him pictures of the actor without make up. “See?”

“Ooh,” Gideon said, nodding his head. “He’s pretending.”

Lydia appeared on the other side of me. “What is this?” She asked.

With a reluctant sigh, I walked her through the conversation we had just had ending with a picture of the actor. “See?” I said. “It’s not scary. It’s just a normal person.”

I watched her for several seconds, letting the concept sink into her mind. “But…” She said slowly, still looking at the man, “Actors are not normal people.”

I froze. My neck suddenly tensed and my mouth went dry. Carefully, I turned to look back at the screen, as you would if you were checking the edge of a forest for wolves. There was no clown. There was no make up. There was only truth. A smirking man, in a suit and tie standing alone on a red carpet, surrounded by photographers and news reporters. Everyone was there to give attention and praise to a man that is paid millions of dollars to dress like a clown and scare children. Was that really normal? Was that really any less frightening than what he was pretending to be? I reached out and touched the mouse with a trembling hand, but before I could close the browser window I swear the man looked at me and winked.