Past Lives: The sea battle

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Edward told me that when he was a little boy he liked turning his bed into a ship. He’d then fight off imaginary attackers in a desperate sea battle. He said that at around the age of six or seven he played this over and over again.

A few years later, he became fascinated with seafaring tales. On a school trip to Madame Tussaud’s in London, his classmates couldn’t pull him away from the ship-board scene of Admiral Nelson’s death. Old-fashioned schooners still sail through his dreams now and then.

‘I’ve since found out that I had a past life as a sailor,’ he said. ‘I died in a sea battle. But I’ve never felt bothered about ships or water or gunfire. I think my little ship game somehow got all that out of my system.’

Many games that children play may have a similar hidden purpose. When put together with other clues they can tell us a lot – not only about our own past lives, but those of our children as well.