I can’t teach my kids to live without fear, but I can teach them to live in spite of fear.
Here are 3 things we do to encourage fearless living:
We let them fail.
I want my kids to fail under my roof so I can help them learn to get back up again. When Cam was learning how to ride his bike I knew he would fall a time or two. So I waited, band-aids and ice pack in tow. I patched up those knees and I made him get back on that bike. Once you know you can fall and get back up again, your fear becomes smaller and your dreams become bigger.
We always tell the truth.
I tell my kids the truth. No exceptions. Cam was terrified of getting shots at the doctor. The nurse suggested I distract him so it would be over quick. I declined. I looked Cam right in the face and told him it was time to get a shot. He asked me if it would hurt, and I said yes. I ended up having to hold him down in the end.
But the trust between us stayed intact. I tell my kids when the shots are coming or when the medicine will sting or when something hurt. This way when I tell them they are brave and strong they will believe me; because mom always tells the truth.
We make them ride rollercoasters.
Sometimes fear won’t go away, so sometimes you have to do things even when you are still afraid. So I make them do everything once – ride the coaster or whatever it is that has them stuck in fear. We acknowledge the fear and then we overcome it.
Fear tells lies. Fear says you are too small, too weak, and that you can’t.
The last thing I want is for my kids to believe those whispers. My hope is that when my kids find themselves in a situation crippled by fear, they will remember standing on the coaster platform with me, telling them “You CAN do this. You are braver than you think.”
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