The other day my son came home from his last day of camp and I was trying to get him to tell me what he did that day.
And mostly he talked about something called a Tarzan Swing. I’ve done my share of ropes course and I’ve seen this particular swing and was a little surprised that my son agreed to do it. Because even though he is silly and likes all kinds of things. Sometimes I have to push him.
Literally, off the dock. Down the slide. On a ride at the fair.
And sometimes the other parents stare at me, like I’m horribly miserably mean. Forcing my kid to do something he obviously is afraid of kicking and screaming.
But. I know my kid. And I know that by the time he gets to the bottom or in the water that he will be asking to do it again. (at least most of the time). And I don’t ever want fear to stop him from something good.
And so I asked him about the swing.
And he said he was a “little bit scared, but mostly that is was fun” and he thought about it for a little and then said it was more fun than he was scared. And that is a lesson I hope he remembers.
I’m afraid of snakes and bears and heights.
And I’ve hike mountains with lots of bears and snakes (and even mountain lions). And jumped off bridges. and cliffs, and ridden rollercoasters. And I was usually more than a little bit scared for all of it.
But like Owen says, it is usually more fun than I was scared.
And I don’t want to live afraid. I am not an adrenaline junkie. I still white knuckle it on ski lifts. And close my eyes on roller coasters. But I will be on them, dragging my kids (and husband when I can) with me. Because I don’t want them to live that way either.
And I see people telling their kids to not be afraid. or hoping they grow out of being afraid of the dark. Assuring them that there is nothing to be scared of. And they are usually right. But there are always things to be scared of. And I can't teach my son to not be afriad. But I can teach him to not let it win or stop him or keep him from having fun.
Because there aren’t always bears or rollercoasters to overcome. They often get replaced with less concrete fears that are a little harder to conquer.
Of people not liking me back.
Of being bad at it. or laughed at. or talked about.
Of never fitting back into those jeans.
Of what other people think.
And maybe those aren’t the kinds of things that are more fun than scary in the end. Sometimes they are just scary. Or they just suck.
But there is still something to be said for not letting fear stop you.
(and i'm not a fan of the video...but love this song)