Home > Uncategorized > A Healthy Dose of Fear

A Healthy Dose of Fear

I think that sometimes we shouldn’t battle our bodies and our brains. Sometimes feeling exhausted means you’ve been doing too much or aren’t recovered from a virus, and you should rest.  Sometimes pain means you’re hurting yourself, and you need to take care.  Sometimes fear means you’re doing something dangerous, and you should stop. However you can also let fear envelop you and keep you from living.

The thoughts behind this post played out in my head while at the local acquatic centre with my son. He’s 3 now: intensely confident, very much a boy, and too often fearless. He adores going down the gigantic, great waterslide. We climb up the steps together, I am allowed to sit myself down, then he climbs into my lab and screams ‘ONE TWO THREE GOOOO!’. Off we shoot down the intensely dangerous and curvy slide, with my heart in my mouth the whole time and my son thrilled. As we splash down – with me trying to hold him up and take most of the impact on myself – he whips his head around to see if my glasses have been washed off my head. He’s always laughing, but if my glasses are knocked off a party goes off in his laugh.  It’s one of his favourite things.

We have been down the slide without drama, at last count, 659 trillion times, however I’m scared each time. I live in a world where death exists and where the certainties are uncertain.

Sometimes, if we’re not going back up the slide IMMEDIATELY, he wants to do ‘crocodiles’ off the side of the pool. In the past he jumped to me, but he’s fearless now.  He jumps straight into the deep water, certain that no harm can come to him.

I don’t know how to instil a healthy dose of fear in him. I don’t want him to live in my world, where I live the worst all the time – before it never happens. But I don’t want him to lose the right amount of fear to keep him safe. So for his sake I try to let him fail at the small stuff – jumping off high things, not always looking where he’s going, not immediately grabbing him when he jumps into the deep water etc – and feel the consequences of being fearless.  It’s hard to know where to draw the line; it’s a decision I have to make about 378 gazillion times per day, so at least I get a lot of practise.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 14/09/2014 at 3:21 pm

    Hi friend! I’ve missed you! When I was reading this, I felt like I could have been writing this about E. He’s such a daredevil and always pushing to go further, faster and higher. I feel like I say “be careful” to the point that he just doesn’t even notice anymore. Boys!

  2. a
    20/09/2014 at 3:11 am

    I say healthy curiosity is far more valuable than healthy fear. You can’t alleviate your own anxiety, but you can prepare him for the likely dangers of his own actions. Swim lessons, teaching him to roll when he lands from a big height – embrace the danger by figuring out your fear and then figuring out how to prepare for it. Knowledge is power!

    It’s hard to do that, though, because we become consumed by anxiety. 😦

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